I was just asked to speak at an on-line women’s retreat, Woman Unleashed. As I love the host and her message and we’ve worked together before, I immediately said yes. She told me the topic of the series was trusting your intuition and asked me what I wanted to talk about. I responded immediately: self-love! That’s when she asked me, “What does trusting your intuition have to do with self-love?” My answer: Everything.
Let me break it down for you.
You know my story: 24-year battle with endometriosis, infertility, osteopenia, and an eating disorder that culminated in a 6-month cosmic 2×4 in 2013 that turned my life upside down. Remember the whole “had a midlife crisis, changed my career trajectory, wrote a book, birthed 2 websites, got a divorce, moved, broke my heel for the second time in a year, turned 40” thing? Yeah, that. Pay attention: this is where the self-love part comes in. As I watched all of this unfolding (at times it felt so surreal that it really did seem like I was but a pawn in my own life), I realized something: I didn’t love myself. I don’t mean in the narcissistic “I am so great” kind of way, but in the basic I didn’t trust, honor, or respect myself. I was my own worst enemy, extremely self-critical and intolerant of my mistakes. And though I did honor my intuition and make those major life changes, it was with a one-foot-in-one-foot-out mentality. I worked myself to the bone to make all of that happen, but I didn’t trust myself. I wasn’t truly allowing things to unfold. I was fighting against the Universe kicking and screaming the whole time.
It took me another 6 months, but I finally got it. You can’t fight against the Universe and expect to win – or even keep your sanity! You know that saying, “Everything happens for a reason?” I used to roll my eyes when people said that. Now I smile and say, “Yes, it does.”
And that’s the beauty of life. Life doesn’t happen to you; it happens for you. Just when you’re ready to throw in the towel and give up, something happens that you never would have expected – something that kicks you in the butt – but that you needed to grow and evolve.
But perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve learned thus far has been to love myself. To realize that I am a worthy person, not for what I can do for others, but for who I am. That we are all beautiful and unique and we all have gifts to share with the world – sometimes these gifts aren’t what we necessarily would have chosen for ourselves, but they are still gifts.
My friend and colleague Lisa Marie Rosati likes to say, “Your mess is your message.” That could not be more true for me. Sometimes Universe sends challenges your way not just so you can learn from them but so that others can learn from you. So that you can pass on messages of hope – be the beacon for someone else who is going through a rough time.
So what do you do when that Cosmic 2×4 comes your way and shakes you to your core? You listen to your intuition, that’s what. Your intuition will never lead you astray. It may tell you to do something unpopular; you might not always like what it has to say, but believe me when I tell you that it has your best interest at heart.