It was only when I learned how to love myself unconditionally that I became capable of loving another.

I grew up hearing that "it is only when you love yourself that someone else can love you". I'm calling a bluff on that - and for all my single ladies out there who are wondering where their dream partner is, please don't believe that you haven't met them yet because of how you love yourself.

Truth is - there are billions of people out there, and no matter how you feel about yourself, there are people who will love you. It might not last or maybe it won't satisfy you completely - but that doesn't mean they won't love you.

I found love before I loved myself. But what changed when I fell in love with me was the fundamental nature of my relationship with my partner, my relationships with family and friends, and my interactions with the world.

When I learned how to love myself completely (that is, without the fine print of if/but/except when), I learned HOW to love another human and how I want to BE LOVED.

To love yourself is to witness your ebb and flows without judgment. It is to notice your changing emotions, energy, body, and presence with a sense of appreciation, rather than a sense of judgment or opportunity for improvement. It is to say, I accept all that I am, as I am in this moment, and I need not be anything more to love myself more. To love yourself is to view all of you from the eyes of the parent - who wants nothing but happiness and health for you, and loves you as you are.

And when you see yourself with these eyes of humility and love, you will find yourself seeing others in the same light of acceptance and worthiness.You will become more patient where it is warranted, and more direct where needed; more honest with your emotions, and more compassionate for others challenges. As you are clear on what it is to love yourself for who you are, you will know what that love for you looks like in the eyes of others.

This Valentines Day, give yourself space to fall in love with yourself. Light a candle, draw a bath, or put on your best dress - and write yourself a love letter. Full acceptance of who you are and all that you experience in the world.

You deserve your endless love. <3

P.S. my greatest lesson in self love is that every day I must recommit to loving myself completely. This lesson alone has had the greatest impact on how I view and interact in my relationships.

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The beauty of the Christmas season quickly wears off as the to-do list grows, expectations of gift giving never ends, and you find yourself losing time to shopping, wrapping, and stressing about paying bills amidst the craziness of the holiday season. If you are feeling more run down than inspired as Christmas day grows near, you are not alone. In fact, I'd argue that the peak joy of the holiday season happens around December 1st for me - my childhood memories of the holidays and Christmas movies flood in, and I haven't yet had the adult reality of the season set in.

Despite the chaos, this truly is a time of year to be grateful. To help us all survive the overindulgence of gifts, food, and family, below are 12 tips and reminders to help you stay present.

First: Get a calendar and plan your time

Planning ahead and mapping out what is in store will help you not only ensure you don't forget anything, but it will let you see where you have time for yourself. Seeing what you have ahead of you will let you see what works and save yourself from the holiday scramble and feelings of overwhelm.

Second: Every day between now and New Years - Carve out 10 minutes for you

The best gift you can give yourself to stay present this holiday season is to commit to sitting quietly 10 minutes a day. If you have a meditation practice, keep up with it! If you don't, just commit to finding a quiet and undisturbed space to sit in silence for 10 minutes. No electronics, no to-do lists, no distractions. Focus on the inhale and exhale of your breath to quiet your running mind. During the holidays we have a tendency to skip meditation sessions to accommodate social functions. This small amount of time for yourself will make the holidays more meaningful, functions more enjoyable, and everything less stressful.

Third: Say 'No'

It's time to get real. You are an adult and you have the right to say no. Whether its a social function that you just don't want to be at, a gift exchange that your budget doesn't need, or an interrogation by your great aunt, exercise your right to politely decline. I'm not saying to go all Christmas-zilla on people, but planting your feet firmly in knowing what is best for you, you can kindly tell people that this isn't right for you. Your wallet, soul, and heart will thank you.

Fourth: Learn the art of cooling off in another room

So there is that social function that you can't escape, or it's Christmas morning and the kids are screaming and fighting with each other. No matter how much our Hollywood-inspired dreams make us believe that the holidays will go smoothly, truth is that it is an overwhelming time for everyone. When you are feeling your blood pressure rise and your anger creep in, sneak off to a quiet room (washroom, bedroom, or even a closet). Shut the door and focus on breathe to ground yourself in the present moment. Breathe out the anxiety and anger, and breathe in the power to remain present and grateful. Remind yourself that this is one day, and your life will resume to normal shortly.

Fifth: Practice gratitude for loved ones

This is my favourite tip to remind yourself about why we all love this time of year! When you are wrapping the gifts you've bought, think about what you love about them and why you are grateful for them in your life. Send these positive thoughts to the gift as you wrap them. Continue this practice on Christmas as you hand the gifts to the receivers. As they are opening, think of what you are grateful for about them. To make the holidays more meaningful for everyone, encourage everyone on Christmas morning to share what they are grateful for about the people they bought gifts for.

Sixth: Stop and take pictures

I would normally agree with the belief that taking photos stops you from enjoying the beauty of the moment. But at Christmas, it can be hard to slow down and notice the incredible lights, decor, and moments happening before your eyes. Whether it's a beautiful Christmas tree, a neat conversation happening in front of you, or the face of someone opening a gift, think about taking a picture (either with a real camera or mentally) to force yourself to stop and check out the view. If you're taking photos of people, aim for candid shots, rather than staged smiles to really capture the moment. Lastly, when the craziness as worn down for the day, review your photos.

Seventh: Volunteer

Not only is this a great time of year to help those less fortunate than you, but it is also a great reminder of all that you can be grateful for. Spread the cheer this holiday season by volunteering with a local organization. Whether it's at a food bank, wrapping presents, or even shoveling for seniors in your neighbourhood, give your time to help others and connect to people.

Eigth: Don't invite guilt to the party

The biggest culprit of a stressful Christmas is your friend, guilt. Make a deal with your guilt gremlin to park themselves for the holidays. The holidays are about doing what you can and want to do - not what you SHOULD do. Close your eyes and have a conversation with your guilt gremlin - picture what it looks like and make an agreement that (s)he sits on the sideline this year. You can reconvene in the New Year if you want, but this Christmas, stay healthy, sane, and financially afloat by flying solo.

Ninth: It's the thought that counts, really

This may be too late for your gift giving, but if not - take note. The old adage 'it's the thought that counts' is true - especially when it comes to gifting for people over the age of 18. Most of us would be quite content with a holiday filled with love and good company and without drama. And if gifts are involved, something that is given from the heart means more than money can buy. When you're gifting for loves ones, more gifts does not = more love. Pick gifts out especially for someone because of its meaning. Your bank account will thank you, and the recipient will love the gift that much more.

Tenth: Share love and practice kindness

It is important to remember that the holidays aren't easy or enjoyable for everyone. Everyone around you has their own stories that you don't know anything about. Dig into your compassion this holiday season and be kind to others (even people you can't tolerate the rest of the year). Your good karma will come back to you.

Eleventh: Tackle the tough things head on

Whether its family traditions that feel different with the loss of a loved one, or paying a dreaded credit card bill at the end of the month, don't ignore the inevitable. Take a deep breath and deal with the tough stuff right away. While it won't be easy and may even cause anxiety, the sooner you deal with it, the more time you free up for other things. Like it or not, you can't ignore the difficulties of life. Addressing them head on and making a plan will free up your mind to actually take in the holiday festivities happily.

Twelfth: Breathe

Life is what we make it out to be. If you walk into the holidays feeling overwhelmed and expecting it to be something - I can almost guarantee that you will wind up disappointed, angry, and frustrated. Breathe deeply and stay present and open to whatever comes. Be grateful for your freedom, your ability to give in whatever ways you can to others, and the ability of your body as it is in this moment. Just as the holidays come, they will go. And just as you made it into this moment, you will make it out of this moment. ​

Merry Christmas to all of you. May your holidays be bright and your hearts warm.

With love <3

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​You are uniquely gifted. You have a combination of talents, qualities, and wisdom that no one else in the world has. You are one-of-a-kind and unlike anything or anyone else.

But perhaps you're still feeling like you're not enough. Maybe not successful enough? Not pretty enough? Not smart enough?

You're not alone. In fact, you've actually found yourself in a beautiful community of people as unique and beautiful as you. Despite each of us having our own powerful intersection of pieces to make us who we are, and despite the unique power and value that each of us bring to the table, there is a human tendency to feel inadequate.

The truth is, the world we are living in makes it challenging to feel that who we are and what we offer the world is enough.

Brene Brown brilliantly writes "the opposite of scarcity is not abundance. It is enough".

Beautiful and heart-warming in theory. But in the world of social media, it is increasingly difficult to understand what enough is, when what we see of success and happiness is that of abundance.

Think of your interactions in the world, and the deep thoughts that accompany those moments.

  • What have you been defining 'success' as when looking at others lives?

  • Ignoring the definitions & expectations of others, what does your 'enough' look like?

When you connect to your true place of enough within you, you will find that you have each of the skills and talents you need to achieve your vision (and that which you may not have will be tools that your gifts will help you develop).

Who you are in it's unique complexity has something to offer this world. When you embrace it, letting go of your comparison to the uniqueness of others, you free yourself from the chase of abundance. You become enough.

Remember that what you see on social media is only the highlights of someone's life. That likes and views don't dictate impact, importance, or someone's value. And that in your world, no matter how far reaching it may feel, close to you there is someone looking at you and feeling the same sense of 'not enough' that you are feeling. By shining your light and living your enough, you will help them to live theirs too.

Takeaway Tip: once you're in touch with your vision of enough, write in a journal, meditate, or take a moment to think every night before you go to bed. Ask yourself: Where am I feeling enough? Where am I searching for abundance? Breathe and connect back to your unique and beautiful place.

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#enough #vulnerability #authenticity #confidence #happiness #behappy #bodyimage #selfesteem #selflove #strength #courage #brenebrown #balance #reflection #Blog #ego #realtalk #respect

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