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I’m incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support and love I’ve gotten from folks since I started this journey and so I wanted to begin this post by saying thank you for your incredible good vibes, energy, and support. I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a special shoutout to John for sticking with me and inspiring me to be the best version of myself (he’ll get his own post).

Some of the great feedback I’ve received comes from people who have felt very similar to me – millennials at the beginning or middle of their great upheaval (read: late 20s-mid 30s) – you know, when the harsh reality of your life is in diametric opposition from where you want it to be? It’s like a second puberty – fueled by alcohol and credit cards! If you’ve felt inspired, awesome, roll with that and start where I started: one conscious act of self-respect.

I always felt like I was tethered to a giant boulder as it went crashing down a hill, crushing everything in its path. There I was, always behind, chasing the boulder, again and again – and when things got stressful, it was like the boulder went crashing down cliffs, smashing the earth below. And then there’s me, being dragged behind, tethered by the wrist, smashing down the cliff, being dragged by the boulder of life.

The great thing about the boulder is that, despite its seemingly impossible mass and velocity, it can be stopped. It’s actually super easy to stop the boulder and get back in front of your own life. The problem is that I was focusing on the boulder – the speeding, rolling, bumping, out of control things about my life and I wasn’t focusing on the ground on which the boulder rolls. You want to stop the problems? Control what you can control – grow the ground on which the boulder rolls.

The ground is everything that you can do for the better that is directly within your grasp – and trust me, if you open your eyes and look, there’s a shit-tonne of ground. If I wanted to control the boulder, I needed to build up the ground with conscious acts of self-respect – and they build damn quick.

Tiny, seemingly inconsequential acts of self-respect

Take the tiny, seemingly inconsequential acts of your day and treat them as conscious acts of self-respect. Everyone has a list of things they know they’re supposed to do with their day but, for whatever reason, may not: wake up on time, floss, do the dishes, take out the recycling – I mean, they’re just little stupid things, right? They can wait until tomorrow, right? Wrong. If you’re like I was, you know that you need to stop the bleeding and you have zero clue where to start. Start with these tiny little things – but do them with intention – treat these little actions like scaffolding for your soul.

In your head – it’s your own head, nobody is peering in, they don’t know what you’re thinking and it’s none of their goddamn business anyway – just repeat your own little mantra while you do tiny little tasks, “This is an act of self-respect. I am worthy of my own respect.” You can substitute any positive word you want for respect: love, esteem, beautification, awesomeness. Hey – I kinda like awesomeness!

It’s hard to describe how the tiny act of taking out the recycling today, now, immediately, because it needs to be done, because I am worthy of a home free of clutter and debris, because the best version of myself deserves it – impacts your state of being.

Here’s a list of things that I did:

  • Stretch in the morning
  • Wake up on time
  • Bought a self-help book (You Are a Badass, Jen Sincero)
  • Took out the garbage
  • Opened the blinds (depression peeps will know how difficult this can be some days)
  • Cleaned my home and kept it tidy for a week
  • Played less video games
  • Watched less TV

Was I successful every single day? Of course not – I’m human. It’s super easy to get sucked into a four hour Overwatch session and go to bed without doing yoga. But the point is, to get out of that cycle, I focused on the acts of self respect that were directly within my grasp – and managed to pull myself out each and every time.

If you need a way to measure, when you go to bed at night, ask yourself, “am I better than I was yesterday?” and if the answer is yes, congratulations, keep going – get addicted to conscious acts of self respect. If the answer is no, that’s ok! Keep your chin up, we all stumble, nobody is perfect, but make sure you ask, “am I alive?” and remind yourself, “that’s a pretty great place to start.”

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