The Avant-Garde Relationship
This letter is to any woman who is offended by the idea of “loving yourself naked”.
Some people may think things like…
‘Is that porn?’
‘You can’t say that name on TV…’
‘You really must change that name.’
‘You don’t have the right to talk about loving your body because you’re skinny.’
The eye roll… The energy shift… The woman taking a judgmental step back from me as I share the name “love yourself naked”.
First, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have been one of my best teachers of late.
I know the importance of communicating my message with women who don’t agree with me or understand my perspective because this is how I grow. It empowers me to understand and help even more women and men.
I’m going to get directly to the point. There is nothing wrong with the human body.
I have an attitude toward life in which the naked body should not bear reason for shame no matter what size, shape or unique qualities it has.
When you feel a particular disconnection and criticism to your body then you are setting up your body on a path towards disease and your mind toward unhappiness. There are endless scientific articles that prove how negative emotions harm the body.
Maybe you like your body, but you just don’t want to talk about it out loud.
This word “NAKED” triggers you… you have been caught in the cultural norm that naked is directly connected to porn, sex, perfectionism or what the media portrays of women.
You are completely free to have this reaction. I do want to explain, however, what you may be doing when you have it…
You may be directly feeding into that which praises perfectionism and treats women as sexual objects… versus taking a stand against it.
You clearly do not know what I mean by loving yourself naked.
I don’t guide women to walk down the streets and take their clothes off… Far from it.
Instead, I guide them to walk down the streets and take their masks off…
I teach them to strip down the layers of shame and fear that they have been wearing around for years. Those emotions that keep them separate from everyone else… while they judge and criticize others as well as themselves.
People bury shame when they don’t share it and it eats them alive.
You may think that food, exercise, work, money, designer clothes, promotions, recognition and Botox will fill up what you are hungry for. These things may work for a little while. However, the masks you wear keep you hiding, and eventually you’ll need to deal with the real issue.
I’m all for modesty and respect for women and I’m also a stand for a woman owning her femininity and her creative, authentic self.
The most “naked” a woman can get is to bare her soul and get really authentic and honest with herself. She certainly doesn’t need to take her clothes off to do that.
Oh and I know… this is scary work. It’s hard too, it’s the most challenging work I’ve ever done in my life and my clients will tell you the same but they will also tell you that their lives have been completely transformed. They will tell you that getting spiritually naked has been life changing for their relationships, their body image and their health.
Nope, not because of me, but because they have realized that the true connection to health is a path to get more naked and clean with their food choices and more naked with who they are as a woman in the body they have.
What is a woman who loves herself naked?
She is someone who has chosen the path of authenticity, and even though a challenging road at times, she’s decided to take off her masks one by one for as long as it takes to feel whole and one with her beautiful naked body.
Believe me, it’s much easier to hide “in security” behind the curtain versus step into authentically relating in the world. It’s much easier to stick with playing it safe and choosing NOT to talk about a woman’s naked body.
But if you do that there will be shame behind your eyes when I look deeply into them. You won’t make sincere and lasting eye contact with me. You are not fully listening to me when I speak… you are somewhere else. You’re in your head. Your mind is loud.
You may see your body as just taking up space. You may even want to be in a different body altogether. You feel disconnected from your body because you are running it into the ground day after day.
When you don’t respect your body, your body will not respect you.
Loving yourself naked is about a deep passionate respect for your body. Women often make a huge mistake when they sacrifice passion for safety.
A deeply passionate connection with your body is the best way for another person to be deeply passionate with it too.
They cannot give you what you will not give yourself.
Naked is your courage to be vulnerable.
You have a naked body like mine and your mothers and neighbors and friends. It’s an embracing of everything that exists in front of you and within you.
Your body is not your enemy and ignoring it isn’t the solution.
I see a lot of women taking their clothes off in the media these days and that’s a choice they make. I’m here to tell you though, that the work begins INSIDE.
“The outward is always a reflection of the inward.”
If you are outwardly proclaiming that you don’t like these words: “love yourself naked”… then you are reflecting that you don’t like your inward self either.
There is a part of you sleeping and staying behind the curtain in your life.
I get it, you’ve reminded me that not everyone is ready to step out from behind the curtain, and that is okay.
I’ll just use it as more fuel for me to know that I am in moving in the right direction…
One where I help as many people as possible love themselves naked.
With love, Renee
Do you feel like you lack the self discipline to achieve what you desire with your health, body, career or relationships?
Maybe you feel you have the discipline but not the willpower to be consistent for the long term… You need a bit more of that inner game motivation.
You get so stressed and down but you don’t necessarily even acknowledge the stress… You can’t see it or you ignore it and keep pushing through… Until everything crumbles, you get sick, things at home or work suffer and worst yet, food and drinks become you emotional teddy bear.
You begin to see that you are likely self-sabotaging yourself.
There are things that hold us back… Lack of knowledge, recipes, cooking skills, willpower and of course negative beliefs, stress and self talk.
I want to share one of the biggest ideas to being wildly successful and this is the theme of the Love Yourself Naked Retreat I’m hosting for women on June 20 (it’s open now, register here!)
It’s called self-discipline (the antidote to self sabotage)
Discipline: the strength to withstand physical, emotional and mental hardships and difficulties.
“Make it a point to do something every day that you don’t want to do. This is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain. – Mark Twain
Discipline is a learned behavior, my friend.
Also, know this. You must muster up worthiness and a little love for yourself to get it going. If you are your worst friend (to yourself) these days, then you are missing the important step before you can move up the latter to self-discipline.
Starting now I want you to begin doing things that you don’t want to do… things you want to avoid. You make other plans, you procrastinate, you are afraid to speak up and use your voice. You know you need to make the salad but you skip it and put in the french fries in stead. You know you gotta do the dishes but you put them off. You know you need to move that body, but you’ll get to it later… You know you need to manage your finances, but you avoid.
Follow through on the little actions in spite of your resistance.
This is about changing your subconscious. That goal you keep thinking about and wanting so badly….
Your inner game and internal self discipline happens because you overcome your subconscious resistance and negative, limiting beliefs and behaviors.
For as long as I can remember I have loved people and been fascinated by all culture and human behavior and there is no one that doesn’t have access to this.
Are you surrounding yourself with people who stretch you or people who enable you?
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts and the people directly in your life and surroundings”
I made a choice to host a live retreat this June for women because I know that teaching self-discipline is needed to be wildly successful at health, life and loving your body and others and if our women are not happy and taking care of themselves fully, no one is.
My commitment to you and the women attending is to deliver outstanding content, wisdom and knowledge, great food and a lot of fun. Will you choose to join us?
I hope so. It is in Michigan, so maybe it isn’t for you if you live far, but if you want to fly, you won’t be disappointed. Although we do have people traveling to be here!
From this moment forward, I want you to ask yourself a question?
Am I best friends with me?
Your body isn’t your enemy. If you know how to be a partner with that body of yours, then things evolve so beautifully for you.
Loving yourself naked is a lifestyle choice.
It isn’t some goal that is outside of you or an idea for someone else. It’s a lifestyle that ANYONE has access to.
The retreat has an fee and when you think about what you spent on dinners out in the last couple of months. Ordering a couple of glasses of wine at dinner or what you spent on the medications and supplements you had to pay for in the past year from being ill… the investment is something you are going to spend in the next couple of months anyway.
You cannot put a price tag on transforming your subconscious to work for you versus against you because it affects everything in your life moving forward.
Okay, now go do something that you don’t feel like doing and get to work on that self-discipline. Start right now.
PS. If you haven’t registered for the Love Yourself Naked Retreat yet, claim your seat and grab more details right here.
When I write to you, I really dive deep and ask myself some questions. Is this serving the greater good? Is this sharing simply cathartic for me personally or will it inspire you in your life? Am I being narcissistic by sharing this, is this all about me?
I have a public website I share with you, I speak to and coach thousands of people regularly and share info on my personal health, life and body with the mission to be more naked each time in my relating with you. In other words, my goal is to authentically share in a way that serves you. If I’m going to share something personal then I want to make sure I know the motive I have behind it.
Which brings me to my topic today, divorce. I was divorced over a year and half ago and I’ve very rarely spoken about it here. Prior to and after my divorce I didn’t want to share it publicly and I wanted to heal and focus on my son and the relationship I have with my son’s father.
Recently, after sharing my story with a new and trusted mentor, she expressed to me how much of a help I could be for people in their relationships and those contemplating or experiencing divorce. She mentioned to me that I really need to be in front of others speaking about all that I have learned.
I felt immediate strong resistance. I was irritated because I knew that with so much resistance, that it likely meant that she was right… not only would it be helpful for others for me to share, but cathartic for me personally. This brought the inspiration for me to write this blog to you.
Divorce is private, personal and yet it is so common in the world around us. In my situation, while my son’s dad and I were both mourning the breaking down of our relationship, we began to see that those around us were shocked by our decision and they were mourning in their way too. After a while we viewed our relationship as an evolution, that it wasn’t ending but instead changing. But let’s face it, It’s also literally a death. Sometimes things need to die so other things can be birthed and we didn’t make the decision lightly.
After we parted ways, there were moments for me in the fetal position sobbing on the kitchen floor of my new home, surrounded by unpacked boxes. There were also moments of complete openness of my heart and assurance I was on the right path and so was my son as I sat in meditation and the sun hit my face. And of course, there was every possible feeling and emotion in between. Thank God for true friends and family during these times.
Towards the end of the marriage it felt terrible that I had this conflicted relationship that wasn’t working out. I was feeling inauthentic in so many ways, I had forgotten who I was. I realized then that my goal was to live authentically and to be “naked” and open. It was to create a conscious “me” and to handle this parting of ways with grace and respect in a way that I don’t see often between two people who have chosen to take this path.
Before our divorce was final, we lived together for quite a few months and although the whole situation was extremely tough, we maintained our friendship, we still snuggled on the couch and at night to comfort each other at times. Maybe it helped that we both worked on ourselves in our own ways. I think I can speak for both of us when I say that we did everything we could to be compassionate, respectful and loving.
Now, one and a half years later, we talk regularly and vulnerably. We have learned a lot about each other even after 9 years of marriage and my son’s dad is one of my great friends in life. We will be in relationship together forever because we have a son together.
It serves me well to work on this relationship because it impacts every other relationship in my life, primarily the one with my son. Just because a divorce happens, doesn’t mean you stop caring, feeling or putting in effort into the relationship, in fact it’s more important than ever. By the way, even if the other party doesn’t try, you must heal it on your end.
He is doing well, he’s happy. I am doing well and I’m happy and most importantly, our son is doing well and he’s happy. Our son has two parents who love him deeply and he knows that his parents respect each other and speak almost daily with each other. I’m still learning so much every day, but I’m quite proud of our family and how we’ve done things so far.
I ended up leaving the family home, which really sucked but for our son and for me financially it was the best decision at the time. So I have to deal with that… At some point, I will speak on parenting as a single mom and running a business, but not today.
Today, the message I want you to walk away with is this (wherever you are at in your relationship):
Your relationship with ONE person is a mirror reflection of what you experience with ALL others.
When you can heal the most challenging relationship, then you’ll begin to heal them all.
So who do you have the most challenging relationship with?
It’s not that person who needs to change. It’s YOU. It’s your responsibility to do the work to evolve and heal your issues so you can be in a healthy relationship with that person or at least find peace and forgiveness with the lack of relationship, etc.
A healthy relationship doesn’t include biting your tongue and not sharing because you don’t want to make waves. Or passive aggressive stuff that makes all kinds of assumptions and judgements. That’s codependent and also a topic for another blog.
Divorce unearth’s all of your “stuff” and I truly mean all of it. I am of the opinion that you must utilize this extremely dark and heart breaking experience to open yourself up and look at all of your patterns, issues, negative beliefs and subconscious bull shit that doesn’t serve you and then grow out of it. I joined every course I could find, read every book, hired coaches and my own personal ‘guru’ who is part therapist, part coach, part shaman.
I decided to become an expert on the subject… What I saw loud and clear was that I needed to become an expert on on the subject of ME.
What was crazy for me was that around this time, I started having clients approach me specifically for relationship coaching both individually and with couples.
I said yes to most because I knew I could help them. I then had a moment when I second guessed myself. I recall looking in the mirror in my eyes, 6 months after being divorced and I said, who am I to be coaching people on relationships, I just got divorced?
Later that day I realized something that changed everything. I was probably the best person to help them because I knew that the way we treat ourselves and live our life with ourselves is the most important part of our relationship with others.
I had looked my biggest fears and flaws dead in the eye and said, BRING IT and I forgave me, I learned to feel my anger and love a whole other layer of ME. (PS. This process never ends… the part of looking fear and flaws in the eye and saying BRING IT)
When you love, respect, forgive and show compassion for YOU, then you’ll be able to attract relationships where those people love, respect, forgive and show compassion for you.
But not a moment sooner.
Oh and I don’t just mean a relationship with a partner, I mean your family, your friends and co-workers too.
You must become “whole” and open your heart… opening it when it wants to close, opening it when you don’t think it’s possible… in moments when you’re on the kitchen floor crying… you make a choice to be whole and open your heart anyway.
By the way, a year after working with those clients who wanted more of my relationship coaching tools, they testify to happy relationships with others, because they love themselves more deeply than ever before and there are some really incredible stories of people meeting their ideal mates and marriages being healed. Not to mention that divorce is probably the toughest thing for your immune system and adrenal glands (I learned first hand), so nutrition guidance is imperative.
You’ll be hearing more blogs in the future from me on what I’ve coined: “The Avant-Garde Relationship”
In case you’re curious on the definition of Avant-Garde:
AVANT-GARDE: One of a kind thinking, distinctive, forward-thinking, original, enterprising.
PS. I have a favor to ask! We are preparing over here for 2 launches of 2 big programs, Winning The Sugar Game and The Sensual Hippie Retreat and I would love your feedback so I can serve you best. I have a quick survey and in exchange for your time, I’m giving away your choice of one of these free gift guides: The Love Yourself Naked Healthy Travel Guide or Raising A Healthy Eater In 9 Easy Steps. Click here to fill out the 3 minute survey and choose your gift right here.
I was really thinking the other day about food and wondering when did it become the enemy? When did we begin to take this beautiful gift that sustains us and gives us life and turn it into something we often resent, abuse and disrespect.
Today I have 2 keys to teach you to trust yourself and the rule to follow so you know whether or not you can trust others. I’ll get to those keys in a minute, first, please know that this whole “trust” thing… well, it’s kind of – sort of imperative to that thing that many of us really want… A Healthy, Happy, Sensual Body.
(For the ambitious folks only: Your sensuality is key to loving yourself naked but loving yourself naked never comes before trusting yourself)
Food has mostly been something we enjoy within community and family and we have lovely memories attached to it going all the way back to childhood. Whether most of our food issues that we’re walking around with are conscious or not… it’s time that we make some peace with our food.
Each of our journey’s to healing our relationship with food is different. Each is a very personal experience that involves something important…
We must feel safe, comfortable and find fun and connection in a new way that we may never have experienced before. I have also found that getting our hands dirty and working hard with the food in the process can make a world of difference.
The trust that we seek is really a trusting relationship with ourself and this enemy and love-hate relationship with food and/or sugar is really about waking up to see the love-hate we may be having with ourselves.
After coaching hundreds of people and logging thousands of hours I can confidently say that most people walk around with trust issues in their relationships.
As i’m leading a group of people through Winning The Sugar Game, my new program, I’m asking people to get much more vulnerable with others about their relationship with food in our private community and I’m finding that it is different than what I’ve experienced before.
There is a different kind of courage involved with sugar and these food addiction or emotional eating topics. There is shame involved.
It’s got me thinking about my own journey and how it was close to impossible for me to be vulnerable with someone else when I was in a place where I couldn’t trust.
If we have a tough time trusting ourselves, we likely will not open up vulnerably unless we can be willing to take a chance. We can be willing to put ourselves out there.
In school, I was a cool kid. How do I know this? Well, I smoked Marlboro Lights. Didn’t all cool kids smoke?
There was something else I noticed about myself. I had friends within every clique and I spent time with people in all of them. From the “cool” to the “nerd” to the “art freak” I was a part of the crowd.
Isn’t it funny how life works with community and friends. We want to be seen and to belong and yet another part of us pulls away, rebels and wants to be the unique or odd one out.
I suppose I could say that I never quite fit in fully with any particular group but when I really get deep with myself, I know it was because I was too afraid to let anyone really see me fully. I was too afraid to open up and trust people. I feared that they might not like what they could discover… If only I knew that way back then…
Oh, and worse yet, if opened up and trusted, I might get hurt or betrayed. So what did my cool-ass self do instead? I stayed on the outskirts and I didn’t allow people in and I went and lit up another smoke with all of the other cool people.
It’s the only thing I knew how to do back then.
Some of us are still doing this now. We are the cool kids, hanging out on the sidelines with our fears, using food to comfort us instead of our smokes and we are do afraid to open up and allow people in to see us.
It’s time to stop hiding behind the foods, sugars, drinks and smokes.
So how do you trust?
The answer is that you get really picky about who you choose to open up to at first. Not everyone is capable of holding space for your open, vulnerability when you are looking to step forward and share yourself.
It’s going to be scary and you must commit to doing it, but not until you find the right person or community.
Opening your heart and letting others see you is the most powerful thing you can do for yourself and for healing your food and body issues.
You lose weight when you care more about your health and self love than you do the scale and outer appearance.
That kind of trust and heart opening can truly be a miracle.
There is something that Brene Brown said once that really stuck with me… “people have to earn the right to see your heart and they have to know when they’re seeing it that it’s an absolute honor and privilege for you to have let them in.”
If someone is judging you, they try to change you, they are talking about you behind your back the moment you walk away or they are not capable of expressing compassion or empathy when you share, then they are not someone you can trust right now. They are not capable of holding space for you at this point. It’s time to move on and find someone else.
There are two steps to learning to trust yourself and others that I want you to take right now.
Share with someone that can “hold space for you” something that scares you or that you are ashamed of right now. Be patient and choose the right community or the right person (The Love Yourself Naked Private community is INCREDIBLE at this). It’s almost like you need to prove to yourself that “other people” really do want to help you… no strings attached, no ulterior motives. They simply want to be there because they can.
Follow through on doing what you say you are going to do for the next 48 hours. You have likely been making promises to yourself for years or decades that you haven’t kept and guess what… you have learned to not trust yourself. You have taught yourself, “I don’t follow through on what i say” and because of it, you are likely angry at yourself for this and have no idea. Forgive you. Then, for 48-hours, follow through on everything you say you are going to do. If 48 hours is too long. How about starting with the next 5 hours…?
What’s your trust story? How has it been holding you back? Please share with us below. I’d love to hear your story.
Trust trees rock,
PS. “Trust Trees” are a reference from Frank in the movie “Old School”, in case you were wondering. Oh and leave me a comment below and share what holds you back from hitting your goals.
PPS. Have you checked out the free video series I created for you yet on how to increase energy, burn fat and win at sugar cravings? Click this link here.
I often hear people talk as if they are “broken”.
This bothers me deeply!
What they cannot see is that they are walking around with a belief that they need to be fixed. That there is something inherently wrong with them the way they are right now.
I have news for you.
You are not broken.
You are perfectly imperfect and that makes you a spiritual being living in a material world.
I have 3 Mandates that I learned from Anthony Robbins to share with you in a moment.
First I desire for you to be a leader of your own body.
In the past 2 months, 2 of my friends died of cancer, both holistic health coaches. I am sad and yet so angry!
I also just had surgery last week… I had my umbilical hernia fixed.
I had a 48 hour natural childbirth and for the past 4 years by hernia has held me back… I was limited on exercises and I had a fear I would rupture it while doing some crazy dance or exercise moves.
So while I was sitting in the bed awaiting my turn to be cut open, I listened and observed the others around me… Breast cancer survivor in front of me. Double bypass to my right and another hernia a few curtains down.
I thought about the barbaric part of surgery and then I thought of our cells … Everything we expose our body to has an impact on our cells… For me, I was thinking about the anesthesia, the Valium knocking me out and the Vicodin they will give me after… all of it impacting my cells. I was also contemplating my thoughts about my belly button since I was a child.
I thought a lot about the difference between the woman in that room (me) who chose surgery and the woman in that room who felt backed into a corner before choosing… the woman with the double bi-pass or survivor of breast cancer.
My empathetic muscle flexed tightly, I teared up as I saw the woman across from me look down her gown at the space her breasts once filled up.
Then, my boyfriend walked in and smiled a bright grin that lit up the room. His only intent, to make me laugh… And I thought of the fact that he is a cancer survivor himself.
Since I was born I always had an outie belly button. It made me different, it made me unique. Until one day, way back in my early years… someone at school made fun of me.
In high school, I recall going to the beach with some friends… I was nervous to be in a bathing suit… then this one guy noticed my belly button. He also noticed an ingrown hair along my bikini line. He laughed out loud and announced that I had a 3rd nipple… and that the ingrown hair (basically a zit that felt the size of a watermelon that day) should be the 4th nipple. Laughter erupted.
I was humiliated.
It’s pretty funny to me now, but I must share that I carried that vivid story and those immature words with me for over 15 years before I figured out I needed to let them go. I used to have a voice in my head when I saw my belly that said “ugly… third nipple”.
As I read the notes from some potential clients recently, I heard the stories of their shame, hatred and disdain for their bodies. One woman expressed feeling completely detached from her body.
One of those people, now my client, later mentioned to me on the phone that she was called a pretty vicious name in elementary school…. she shared that she was called a fat slob. On that call, she had a breakthrough that she has spent the past 30 years of her life living into the story and belief that she is a “fat slob”. She saw that she had created that story based on a name she was called and her body reflected that exact belief.
Whatever your obstacle is… maybe you are overweight or obese. You feel trapped in your body. Maybe you hate your thighs… maybe you don’t like your belly fat. May you have a disability. Maybe you’ve had abuse and you feel deep shame around it… Maybe you’re a cancer survivor or you were just diagnosed with some medical news that shocked you.
I want you to know something.
You are not broken.
I want you to achieve health and happiness but mostly I want you to “be whole” in the process of doing it.
Our culture doesn’t make it easy for you… or me.
Social media, Barbie Dolls and anorexic models on magazines.
A food system that is so unbelievably corrupt… drugs and antibiotics in our foods, trans fats, processed crap, whole wheat, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, corn oils… the list goes on.
This is what is killing people. Heart disease, obesity and diabetes, yes.. .but how about poor immunity that makes us more susceptible to disease… ruining and degrading our intestinal lining making it so we leach toxic waste into our bloodstream and then sending it out to our organs and then causing all other kinds of ailments… including celiac, crohn’s and this is just the start.
But you know what else is killing people?
Their beliefs are.
Science says that your perception of your environment controls your cells. Your perceptions are your beliefs.
It turns out that our beliefs select our gene’s and select our behavior. Dr. Bruce Lipton is the genius behind these research studies.
They can actually prove a molecular connection where a belief switches on a gene. This isn’t a bunch of hocus pocus spiritual woowoo stuff, although I don’t mind that from time to time.
The things I share here are scientifically validated and spiritually sound™.
The whole game is about your cells. Your cells are either thriving or they are dying. And your cells create the reality that you are living in right now.
We can change our cells based on 2 things:
- The health of the cell (cells need oxygen, water and to let go of waste)
- The mindset of the cell (our beliefs tell our cells what to do… grow, shrink, hold toxins, create disease, cleanse, etc)
With this knowledge you can now lead your body and each day you’ll make progress, you learn and get results.
Here are the 3 mandates I mentioned earlier:
1. See things as they are, not worse than they are.
Tell yourself the truth. Instead of dwelling on your issues we face them. We often see things as “worse” because we want an excuse and we’re afraid to fail.
2. See it better than it is.
Create a vision of what you desire and take the steps in life, one at a time, to draft your own roadmap and make it real.
3. Make things the way you see them.
This requires strategy and it is something that can be taught. You look to use all the resources available to you. When I think about cancer, disability, sickness and disease, I’m reminded that the pain and anger are a driving force. Through the fear and crisis, new beliefs are chosen and leaders are created.
It’s time to be the leader of your body.
Renee “loves herself naked” Heigel
I have lived most of my life wearing around a perfectionist pin on my heart. I would boast with my head held high… “yes, I’m Renee and I’m a perfectionist”. Not only was it socially acceptable within culture (and sometimes still is) but it became a belief that was so ingrained within me that I shared it with pride.
What it did instead was hide a deep shame and judgement… Can you relate to being a perfectionist? I have 4 major revelations to help you and an awesome video below… This one might hit home.
When I was in college, I started out as an art major before switching to marketing. My perfectionism showed up in my art and school work then… I was at the kitchen table with my artwork laid out all over the place… working all night… losing sleep to complete art projects or papers.
You might do this too. You stay up too late, you have no clear boundaries for yourself. The boundary topic is a big one but that’s for a future blog. You put things off because it isn’t perfect or whenever you do something, it is never good enough.
I see it also with many of my clients. It shows up when they have unrealistic standards and boundaries and they have no idea how to set healthy ones. They take on too much or aim way too high.
It might be standards about your clean refrigerator, your body, your work or spiritual practice. And then you see it show up within your relationships or your parenting and then it takes over your life.
I finally woke up from the nightmare! Oh and let’s be clear… I’m still waking up. I’m in what I will call perfectionist recovery.
You know what I was doing?
I was so afraid of making a mistake because I learned somewhere in life that making a mistake meant failure. So I began creating situations where I would not make mistakes.
As a parent now, I can see so clearly that when my son makes mistakes, it is his biggest opportunity. It is allowing him to learn and grow. Mistakes are his best teachers. The same goes for us.
I also noticed that I would put stuff off… it was never perfect enough and then when I finally did complete it, I didn’t know how to be proud. I still felt like it was mediocre. When I looked, all I could see were the flaws.
The lies I was telling myself were: “I have control over how people feel about me” and “if i’m perfect, no one can reject me”
I recall when I first hired a life coaching at the age of 21, one of my coaches taught me about the word, “should”.
At the time, I was the queen of to do lists and that got better and then worse before I finally broke the habit… I noticed this about a year back when I moved to a new home. I had so much paperwork in files to recycle and you know what… most of those papers were LISTS. Scrap pieces of paper… everywhere!
This created an endless list of “shoulds”… or rather, things I thought I had to complete in order to be happy and feel good.
I learned in coaching this phrase, “Stop shoulding on yourself…” Yep, it sounds like “stop shitting on yourself”.
Because when you should, you are forgetting about your desires and instead controlling and hiding.
I began to see that my perfectionism was really about my thoughts and behaviors.
I saw that I was seeking happiness and worth based on a piece of paper with a bunch of lists on it or a perfect piece of art or an immaculate house in preparation for a large party or the perfect dress for the perfect occasion.
I didn’t know it then, but I know it now…
I saw that my self worth was equated with my accomplishments and achievements and outward appearance.
The problem was not only my thoughts and beliefs but it was also the culture I had immersed myself in… I was an entrepreneur at a young age. Huge gratitude, by the way for that. Best decision ever, but with that also came this mentality that I had a standard to live up to and I had to do everything to reach it.
There is a big difference between striving and perfectionism. The gap in between the two was why I was suffering.
I started to see that this perfect project, house, body and business wasn’t fully authentic. That I was working so hard to maintain these things and basically hurting my health emotionally and physically to do it.
I felt so inauthentic and you know what… that is around the time when I created my first Love Yourself Naked program… it wasn’t for you (no offense). It was for me! I realized that I needed to learn how to be authentic and that authenticity wasn’t something I was born with, that I could create it by making different choices.
I stopped being fake and as I type that, it’s hard to admit because at the time, I didn’t feel fake. I didn’t feel perfect either. When I look back, I think I was fearful and the perfectionism was my way of hiding the fear. I was hoping it would take the fear away.
Brené Brown says, “Perfectionism is not about healthy striving, it is a cognitive behavior process that says this… when I look perfect, do it perfect, work perfect, I can avoid and minimize shame, blame and judgement”
While Oprah was interviewing Brené, she responded with, “Perfectionism is the ultimate fear. That the person walking around with so much perfectionism is ultimately afraid that the world is going to see them for who they really are and they won’t measure up”
As I began to choose authenticity I began to notice the people around me who were not choosing it. It was extremely hard because I had to let go of relationships in order to serve my growth in this area.
Here are 4 steps that have helped me tremendously on my journey to be a recovering perfectionist.
1. Self Compassion. I have empathy for myself, I embrace mistakes as my biggest gifts and if I goof up… I love me so hard because I deserve it.
2. I let you see me. I choose vulnerability and honesty moment to moment. Nope… not perfect at it and I don’t want to be. Every day, I make a choice to let the people around me, see me. I think… what’s the worst thing that can happen? You know what happens on average, those people feel like they can open up and do the same.
3. I learn from my mistakes. Here is an important distinction: I enjoy the process of that self evaluation and sometimes that is really hard to do. I write about what I’ve learned and most importantly what I desire more of instead.
4. I set realistic goals. These days I set goals that I feel great about but I must confess, I have a great team of coaches and peers surrounding me that keep me in check on this one… I find that I’m still thinking unrealistically at times. The best part, however, is when I don’t accomplish it all, I am no longer defined by it.
I would love to hear from you so please share below in the comments… your perfectionist moments and what you’ve learned from them.
I love hearing from you. xo
PS. Really juicy topic on the blog next week… keep your eyes peeled! By the way, if you’re interested in that Brené Brown and Oprah chat on perfectionism it’s 4 minutes and worth oh so worth it.
Carrots, green beans and corn. It’s not that my parents didn’t try… they did their absolute best. But somewhere along the line I decided that I didn’t like veggies and having a sweet tooth was much more satisfying anyway.
There was a time, when I was about 4 years old, when I cried my eyes out at the dinner table to get out of eating my peas. My parents were so sick of my loud cries that they sent me straight to my room.
Four-year old Renee was thinking… Yes! No peas for me! My sister, on the other hand, didn’t cry and was forced to sit there and eat her peas… she still laments about this today.
But I was onto something…
Make a big stink, cry and whine over here and over there distract from the main idea. It was like magic…
Has your child ever done this to you? They have caused such a scene about eating that “yucky” food that you sent them to their room or just gave up altogether?
I have 9 ideas that will help you with this. I’m about to get to them…
If you are a parent, and your kiddo is a sweet tooth junkie like I was, I want to remind you to do your best and most importantly…
Lead by example. You never know… they could turn things around like I did and end up becoming uber excited about veggies and teaching nutrition. No one in my life would have ever imagined this would be my career choice back then.
They may turn out to be highly addicted to sugar and end up obese, sick and on the path to heart disease and cancer.
(Terrible thought, but let’s face it… based on stats, there is at least a 60% chance of one of those things happening).
By the way, I was also really addicted to sugar for over two decades too and headed down a dark black unhealthy hole because of it.
Everything going on with their eating is perfect right now.
I had different kinds of shake ups along the way that finally got me eating well and listening to my body. You did too and you might still be having some shake ups… Your kids will have similar circumstances that mold and shape them.
This isn’t a blog post about what to stop feeding your child. I don’t need to tell you about how soda literally changes the hormones in our bodies and causes major health issues because you already know that it’s a poison. I don’t need to explain to you the amount of unknown ingredients and sugars that are in processed foods that kids eat everyday. You know this too.
And if you are anything like me, you are sickened and appalled by the way our children are fed in schools.
Here is what you need to do.
You really need to let your child’s health play out organically while you lead them. You cannot control everything and you know what…?
You really have to let the guilt go about what you may or may not have done in the past. You can’t do anything about it now.
Now that you are here, though, there are 9 major ground rules to get your kids eating veggies because it is so important to their happiness.
1) Get your healthy act together! If you are guzzling down soda and your plate doesn’t look like a rainbow of goodness regularly then you can’t expect your child to be on board either. Change your habits, first and foremost!
2) Empower your kids to make the choices themselves. You never want to tell a child what to do because they will almost always say no. Offer them 2 options and then get their opinion or empower them to choose. Example: “Manny, can I get your opinion? Do you think these carrots would taste better dipped in sunflower butter or peanut butter? Could you be my special taste tester?” If that doesn’t work…. cut a raisin in half and make little eyes on the carrot dipped in nut butter. Make it fun. Think: “ants on a log“
3) Feed them local vegetables. In comparison to local veggies from a farmers market or your garden, grocery store veggies taste yucky. They lack flavor, depth and nutrients. If you want your kids to like veggies, take them to a farm or market and eat them local. The difference is unparalleled. They are likely cheaper too.
4) Teach kids about the food and where it comes from. Little boys love a battle to win and little girls want to be saved from the evil witch. In either case, you need a villain. In this case, the villain is big corporate farming. Our kids need to learn about sustainable farming. For example, you need to teach your children that feeding cows corn makes the cows sick and therefore creating an environment for ecoli in their belly. Then causing the cows to need antibiotics. Sharing this isn’t politics. This is fact about a cows belly having a rumen which can digest grass and grains. No need to preach; you share this with “a-matter-a-fact” approach and watch your children want to fight for what is “right”.
5) Teach them how their taste buds work. Did you know that it is recommended that you have children try a food at least 17 times before you can tell if they actually really like it? The earlier in life a child eats something the more they expand their palette. The more sugar they are given, the more that palette is numbed out. Tell them this! At around age 7 those taste buds evolve again. Don’t force them and avoid serving the same veggie every day. Be patient and have a variety of colors, veggies and ways in which you cook things.
Example: “Manny (4 years old), I know it seems like you don’t like the taste right now, but your taste buds just haven’t grown fully to really taste it like I do. As long as you try a bite, you are growing those “tasters strong”.
6) Be honest about your own learning while still parenting them with strong boundaries. I have learned not to force things or try to control. There are consequences, however, to not eating veggies… no snacks or treats and you must stick to your guns! If you give in, then you have lost the battle and they won’t forget it. That battle could take a week or more to master again…
Example, my son knows he must always finish his breakfast. No breakfast, then the consequence is no special treat in his lunch box.
7) Grow food with them. Have a small pot or garden and grow some tomatoes, strawberries, lettuce or zucchini. Get them involved and I promise they will want to eat what they watched grow up. There is nothing better.
8) Speak to them in words they understand. The last thing you want to say to your child is that “it’s healthy for you, eat it”. They don’t care about or understand what “healthy” really means like you do and for many of us, the context of that statement is loaded with fear and shame around our weight gain or issues.
Example: Eating your spinach gives you really strong muscles and makes you run faster on the playground. Drinking that green monster smoothie makes you happy and smarter and I hear that it only brings around friendly monsters. Eating your carrots helps you have super hero strength so when lots of other kids get a runny nose and cough you might not (“carrots help you see in the dark” …this is technically NOT true!)
9) Have them help you in the kitchen. When children are involved, they will want to taste the finished product. Have them take grapes off the vine, take the tops of strawberries or show them how to peel a cucumber.
PS. As you know, it starts with you. Wouldn’t it help if you weren’t falling prey to those cravings that suck you in and then make you feel guilt and shame after devouring them? Are you ready to understand how to take action and shatter those cravings and turn your body into a fat burning machine…? If this is you, then you don’t want to miss this free call I’m hosting. It’s my gift to you so register for it here.