I am so excited to learn, encourage and keep the self-love conversation going online and IRL. Over the past few months, I have been chatting with Rachel (today's guest blogger) about her self-love journey. Today, she shares her story about creating boundaries, overcoming the feeling of "I'm not enough" and giving herself permission to place her needs first. You know I LOVE a good Q&A, so I asked Rachel a few questions make sure to check them out at the bottom of the page before you go.
This guest blog is written by Rachel Rubinstein
Rachel is the founder of Rise Parenting, a resource, and podcast to support parents before children, during pregnancy and through the elementary years. Rachel completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Sexual Psychology from the University of Redlands and her Master’s Degree in Women & Gender Studies at the Dominican University of California where her culminating project was the development of curriculum for adolescent girls coming of age. Rachel has been an elementary school teacher and now works as curriculum director and lead teacher at Caulbridge School in San Rafael. Rachel is a birth doula, certified yoga teacher and leads women’s circles in Marin County, CA.
The year I fell in love with myself was the year I met the love of my life.
Falling in love with myself meant finally investing in myself and my self-care, setting boundaries based on my needs and not others expectations, and dedicating myself to things that moved my life forward.
It’s so easy to get caught in the rat-race, to want things and recognition outside of ourselves, yet that feeling of wanting only magnifies as we focus on it. Set manifesting aside, I’m talking about the feeling of wanting associated with lack. That feeling of comparison, of “I’m not enough”.
It’s a sticky, depressive feeling that many people wear like chainmail, which actually deters the things we want most in our lives. After a series of unsuccessful relationships and noticing that I was the common denominator, I decided to set the bar higher, not only for men but for myself.
I had to get comfortable with solitude, trading weekends out for nights in. So often we look outside of ourselves for validation, friendship, love, when all of those begin from within. In order to cultivate the life I wanted I needed to dive fully into my present life. I had to shift my mindset from a place of lack or scarcity to one of abundance. I stopped making excuses and spent the extra money on organic foods and self-care. I prioritized what was important to me over what was expected of me or important to those around me.
I enjoyed dating, meeting new people, but was clear after one interaction if that was someone I wanted to spend more time with. I let go of the fantasy that someone’s better self was hiding behind the person they showed up as. I didn’t owe it to anyone to fix them and realized that that was never my work to do.
After a year of first dates and only a few second dates, I met a man that I could see the best version of my life with. Falling into love with him was easy because I had given myself time to truly love myself and entered into that relationship respecting my needs first before attuning to his.
Like any commitment, my relationship with myself takes dedication. My self-care is more important than date nights with my husband because without taking care of myself, I cannot be present enough to take care of our relationship. What if this was the year you feel in love with yourself? What is standing in your way?
You open your blog post with "The year I fell in love with myself was the year I met the love of my life." Just to clarify falling in love with yourself happened before you met your partner? It wasn't BECAUSE you met the love of your life? *We may learn things about ourselves through different relationships but it is worth noting that I (Rebecca) believe loving yourself is not attached to or a result of another person.
Yes, I believe that putting myself first, setting high expectations of others and learning to set boundaries allowed me to call in true love. Because when love came, I was confident within myself and clear with what I wanted and needed, and my husband vocalized and continues to reflect on the fact that my clarity at the beginning of our relationship was what made him first respect then fall in love with me.
What steps did you practice to create boundaries based on your needs and not others expectations? How did you deal with the different points of views?
Boundaries are HARD! I’m still learning how to have effective and clear boundaries. First, it was a mental switch, that was the easy part, actually holding boundaries was challenging. Initially, instead of clear boundaries, I’d make excuses, “Oh I can’t go out tonight because I have XYZ.” Then what usually followed was the other person accommodating me or rescheduling the thing I didn’t want to do in the first place. So I learned that being kind and clear was better. When I set boundaries and stepped back from the over-exerting I’d been doing with many friends, some of those friendships faded. But it was a freeing experience of really understanding what friends were in my life to support me and which were only there to be supported by me.
We all go through periods in our lives where we feel sensitive, low or drained. When you need to reconnect with yourself or need a little TLC what are your 3 self-care go-to's?
I try to be pretty routine with my self-care to help prevent drain, but when that inevitably occurs I love soaking in the bath, I’ll make herbal bath bombs or add essential oils. I drag myself to yoga, especially when that’s the last thing I want to do. Or lately, I’ve been loving taking a cat nap in the afternoons.
Why do you think 'Ladylike' Chats are important?
Because women need a place to be able to connect about being women!
Just for fun have you read a great book about self-care or how to pull yourself out of a funk?
I recently read Woman Code by Alisa Vitti, I’d known about it for a long time but hadn’t picked it up and while I don’t think you would classify this as self-care, it unlocks so much needed information about our bodies as women. I have been recommending this book to all my friends!
What podcast are you listening to right now?
I’m a Super Soul Sunday fan and listen to most of The Balanced Blonde’s podcasts.
Who's Instagram account do we need to check out?
What comes to mind is Taryn Brumfitt @bodyimagemovement, I love her message. It’s a needed reality check amongst so many filtered insta images.
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