photo c/o The Turquoise Studio
Hello friends! I’m coming at you with a more personal post today to give you some insight into my life outside of this little side-hustle business. When I migrated from Just a Pinch to Nutrition Elevated, I anticipated that the majority of my blog posts would revolve around…evidenced-based nutrition. And for the most part, they do!
But what I’m slowly starting to realize is that I miss sharing my more vulnerable side, because connection is built on shared vulnerability. I find that I relate most to the people in my life who are willing share their fears, failures, and disappointments.
When I think about the 14 Days of Self Love Challenge, one of the fundamental components of practicing self-love is to recognize that we are all human. We all fail, fall out of love, cry over missed opportunities, and wish, for just a second, that our lives looked more like those curated on instagram.
I’ve talked a lot about how much I’ve grown as a person over the last year and a half, but I’ve never really disclosed to what extent that growth has impacted my life. My personal journey to find fulfillment and happiness is one that previously, I wasn’t able or ready to tell. But today, I am.
For the first time possibly…ever, I do not depend on anyone but myself, and the activities that I love, to bring me joy and happiness. For a good portion of last year, I went through a cycle of extreme highs and lows. It was exhilarating and exhausting. And if I’m being completely honest with myself and you, much of my emotional sanity hinged upon my current relationship or dating status. I cannot tell you how many tearful conversations, runs around Green Lake, and journaling it took before I was able to admit that to myself.
You see, I’ve always been incredibly independent. And strong. And a go-getter. So, when one partnership or relationship ended, I quickly sought out another. I was the master of hiding my emotions under a slew of commitments and distractions. I never, ever allowed myself to 1) be alone 2) grieve or 3) process what happened.
Rejection. It stings. BUT, the most daring acts often lead to the most painful rejections because of how invested we were in remaining optimistic. It takes courage to act when we’re scared, and resiliency to get back up when we fall.
At the end of last summer, I proclaimed the next 12 months as the ‘Year of Lauren.’ Many of my close friends will remember the day I vowed to spend more time on me. To invest in becoming emotionally stronger and more stable, to practice more self-care, and to make time for more of the activities that brought me immense joy.
I briefly mentioned when I launched Nutrition Elevated that I woke up one day and just felt…ready. And the reason I felt ready was because I had given myself a few months to really focus on what I wanted out of my life and career. I had finally given myself the space, time, and emotional energy to carry out what was previously just a daydream.
It’s been almost 6 months since I verbalized my intention to focus on me, and I am incredibly happy. Never in a million years did I think that I could feel this content and fulfilled on my own. The focus of my conversations with friends is no longer centered around the drama of relationships. Instead, we talk about dreams, goals, daily joys, big and small intentions, and all the magic that this world has to offer.
And this isn’t to say that I’m not making space for others. I’m still casually dating both as an opportunity to connect with amazing people, and because I believe that the best things in life are found outside of our comfort zones. But being single is so stinkin’ fun, and probably the best thing that could have happened to me. When dating doesn’t go as planned, my life doesn’t change because I have designed a life that is already so full. Getting to that place was huge for me and I want to share some of the important lessons and philosophies that helped me along the way.
learn to walk away
Recognize your own incredible self worth, and walk away from the people and activities that are not serving you. Walking away is something I’ve done multiple times in the last year, and I will be the first to say that it’s really, really hard. It takes incredible strength and courage to leave someone (or thing) that you care about; but, walking away also means we make room for the extraordinary people and opportunities that are truly deserving of our time and care.
make room for emotion
Repressing feelings of self-doubt, inadequacies, frustration, sadness, loneliness (the list could go on) will only temporarily relieve the discomfort. Sorting through why we’re experiencing these feelings will help us overcome them. Self-reflection and care can come in the form of therapy sessions with close friends, family, or professionals. However you find it easiest to process emotion, allow yourself the freedom to express yourself. You’re human, and you’re allowed to feel exactly as you do.
release your expectations
Expectations lead to disappointment. When we start to envision where our life is headed, we’re often disappointed when the story fails to progress as expected. Learning to let go of our expectations of people’s behaviors and situations will alleviate feelings of frustration. That’s not to say that we can’t be optimistic or give people the benefit of the doubt, it’s just a reminder to open yourself up to the unexpected.
learn to say no
I’ve forgone countless Friday nights out with friends in favor of curling up in my bed and going to sleep by 10pm. I’ve learned to anticipate that I’m going to be exhausted by the end of the week, so I try to leave at least one weekend evening open for relaxing. As someone who is constantly on the go, it’s been a welcome change to open up flexibility into my schedule.
self-care, every day
Devoting even ten minutes to myself for reading, writing, listening to music, or lighting candles has improved my psyche immensely. We must take care of ourselves first before we can truly give to others. Self-care has reduced my stress levels and helped me feel more balanced.
It’s amazing how many chance encounters we miss because we’re focused on our cellphones. I cannot tell you how many strangers I’ve met or talked to in public since I’ve actively focused on putting my phone away and looking up. As a society, we’re losing our ability to converse with people in public, and as ‘connected’ as we may feel on the internet, we’re immensely disconnected in reality. Make someone’s day by starting a meaningful conversation. You never know where it might lead 🙂
For those of you who’ve made it this far, thank you for reading. If you take anything away from this post, I hope it’s a sense of confidence that you have the power to design a life that you love. Once we stop seeking happiness from external sources, we stop giving power to those who are undeserving. Cheers to living a life, elevated. XO