living intuitively

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L O V E yaself
Images shot by Abbey Armstrong Photography  Edited by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images shot by Abbey Armstrong Photography

Edited by Brooke Richardson Photography

The only cure I have ever known for fear and doubt and loneliness is an immense love of self.
— Alison Malee

I think I’m awesome.

Please don’t be put off by that. I want Y O U to feel the same about yourself.

And you can!

Do I think I’m awesome 100% of the time? Don’t get it twisted: I have my moments of discouragement/frustration/etc, but overall - I always LOVE myself, which is especially important during those moments of discouragement and frustration. I think I’m a rad chick.

You owe yourself the love you so freely give to other people.
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I had to work hard to get to that point. That unconditional self love.

BUT YOU CAN TOO!

You too can create an abiding self love, independent of your moods/feelings/triggers/experiences/environments.

It requires practice and awareness. It requires facing your shadows. Feeling - not repressing - your emotions. Reserving judgment and extending grace. Being honest and not feeding yourself stories just to make yourself feel better (this only feeds the ego and creates a faux, insecure self love). It also requires a touch of tough love, and calling yourself out when necessary, to live into your potential/cease the false narrative/incorporate the discipline.

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Comparison is an act of violence against the self.

It’s not easy at first, but once you get a taste of true self love - YOU SEE IT’S WORTH IT. You realize how powerful, necessary, liberating, and impactful it is.

Self love is imperative. Not like, “Gee, it’d be ideal if you loved yourself, but it’s whatevs.”

Nah. IT’S NOT WHATEVS.

It’s absolutely c r u c i a l not only to your ultimate wellbeing and happiness, but also to the wellbeing and happiness of your inner circle, of your outer circle, and of the whole entire world.

I know, I know, you’re likely thinking, “Okay, dramatic much?”

But it’s true. If you want to change the world, start with yourself. The ripple effect starts with you. Happy people radiate and perpetuate bliss and good vibes. It’s all about energy, man. It’s the currency of the universe. Your energy introduces you before you even speak. Once you get right with yourself and start riding those high vibes, you’ll be amazed how it affects the space/people around you (I discuss this in my latest episode with Izzy Ramirez). That’s not just Hippie Whitney talking. That’s science. Physics. Your thoughts/actions carry energy, and people/life around you responds according to the frequency you emit.

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Be the type of energy that no matter where you go, you always add value to the spaces and lives around you.

Don’t believe me? Think about a time you were feeling great/okay, and encountered someone in a less-than-stellar mood. Even if you manage to stay on that high vibe, you’re still affected to an extent by the negativity. And don’t even get me started with consistently toxic people.

Self love makes you happy. Happiness gives you energy, drive, stamina, compassion. (Plus, as Elle Woods rightfully noted, it fights crime and preserves marriages because “happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t.”)

Shoutout to all the people out there trying to love themselves in a world that’s constantly telling them not to.

And ESPECIALLY if you have kids in your life, modeling self love yourself is key in developing their own. Particularly regarding body image. Society already demands they contort themselves to meet impossible and elusive ideals. Set your kids up for success and mitigate societal damage by expressing self love, especially during those impressionable younger years.

Daring to love yourself is an act of rebellion in this world. LET’S REBEL TOGETHER.

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How sad is it that society has taught us to view people’s expression of self love as arrogance. Self absorption. Narcissism. When we see someone celebrate their win, or acknowledge their skill, or comment, “Hey, I look smokin’!” we tend to dismiss them is “sooo into themselves.”

SAD.

That should be our baseline. We should allow ourselves and others the space to embrace our awesomeness. Our beauty and smarts. Our talent and skill. Sure, we don’t want to get obnoxious about it and go on and on about how ahhhmaaaze we are.

There’s a distinction between self love and insecurity. When you’re solid in yourself and truly love yourself, you’re secure - and have the mental and emotional bandwidth to love and care about others. When you’re insecure, you tend to overcompensate. You feel compelled to seek validation externally. When you love yourself, you internally validate yourself.

So DECIDE RIGHT NOW to win yourself over. Commit to falling in love with yourself and watch your life absolutely TRANSFORM.

xx,

-w-

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let's GET fired UP
Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.
— Vince Lombardi

Are you 100% motivated 100% of the time, and/or are surrounded by people who are also motivated every second of every day, to do every single thing needing to be done?

No?

AWESOME. First of all, welcome to the club of ALL HUMANS (even Beyonce!). Second of all, this post will hopefully help, instead of being a giant waste of your obnoxiously perpetually-motivated time. Love you mean it.

I consider myself a consistently motivated individual, and I know many of you are too (I’ve seen you in action!). However, there are times where I realllly gotta pep talk myself, especially when it comes to something that’s not enjoyable/easy for me to do.

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Awhile ago, I read a fantastic book called Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg. Yes, I recommend it. Unless you wanna be dumber, slower, and worse. Then, you know - do ya thang. To each their own.

(PS the following words of wisdom can be applied to motivate yourself AND others. SCORE!) YOU get motivation and YOU get motivation and YOU get…you get it.

We are motivated by the need for autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Per Duhigg, the first step in creating drive is offering people/yourself choices to provide a sense of autonomy and self determination. The key is to present them as decisions rather than commands.

Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.

Furthermore, if you can link something hard to a choice you care about, it makes the task easier. For example, let’s say you reallllly don’t wanna workout, but you reallllly do wanna stay healthy for your family for years to come, so you can witness major moments and be fit enough to play with your kids/grandkids/nieces/nephews/etc. Keep reminding yourself of that whenever you feel that fire dying. And if it helps, gives yourself options: group workout vs. solo workout, cardio vs. strength, etc. Some people this helps, some people this inhibits, so know yourself and adjust accordingly. For many with minimal motivation, it’s more beneficial to show up to a workout class where an instructor tells you what to do and fellow exercisers push and keep you accountable.

PARENTAL HACK! If you can make a chore into a meaningful decision, self motivation will likely emerge. Let your kids have a say in what chores they have (you may need to assert some authority here, depending on the track that conversation takes!) and explain why they have the chores in the first place. For example, explain you’re teaching them life lessons to kick booty later in life. They’ll be so much further ahead than many whose parents coddled them and then released them into the “wild” without any self-sustaining skills. Let them know how much you value and rely on their contributions to keep the house running smoothly. Acknowledge the control and autonomy they have. Let them know how much they MATTER.

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Once we start asking ourselves why, those small tasks become pieces of a larger constellation of meaningful projects, goals, and values. We start to recognize how small chores can have outsized emotional rewards because they prove to ourselves we are making meaningful choices, that we are genuinely in control of our own lives.

That’s when motivation flourishes.

Motivation is, in other words, a choice we make because it is part of something bigger and more emotionally rewarding than the immediate task requiring completion.

xx,

-w-




D A R E to be Y O U
Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously.
— Sophia Bush

Let me start off by saying this is not directed at any particular person (man, what an opener, right?).

I really want to express gratitude for all of the good vibes thrown my way lately, specifically about my physique. People have been so kind and complimentary (vocab check: in addition to “free” it also means “expressing a compliment; praising or approving - fun fact for the day!).

People have noted I look thinner, and have commented on how svelte I look and how hard I’ve worked to get there.

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The truth is…I haven’t. Worked hard at it, that is.

Let me explain. I actually liked the way I looked before my [slight] weight loss (it’s not like I’ve dropped 20 lbs, but even minor weight fluctuations on my petite frame are noticeable - for “good” and “bad”). It was a long road to escape body dysmorphia and the sick societal “six pack or bust” ideal. I learned to truly celebrate my curves and embrace my body type. I understood strength and fitness trumped physical form. What I could do and how I felt doing it were far more important than what I looked like [doing it].

Don’t waste so much time thinking about how much you weigh. There is no more mind-numbing, boring, idiotic, self-destructive diversion from the fun of living.
— Meryl Streep

Obsessing over what I looked like was consuming a ridiculous amount of mental and emotional bandwidth. ENOUGH. Honestly, I just maxed out (physically, mentally, emotionally). So I dug deep and got to a fantastically solid place. I lived intuitively, I ate intuitively. Life was good.

And then randomly my appetite started ghosting. I don’t know about you, but my appetite naturally ebbs and flows - independent of my physical activity. Sometimes I’m barely hungry, other times I’m a food fiend.

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This time, however, my appetite stayed extremely low, oftentimes non-existent. It’d reappear every once in awhile, but for the most part - gone-zo. We’re talking 6+ months. For an intuitive eater honoring their appetite, I was knocked for a loop. I only ate when hungry, so when you’re never friggin’ hungry, you can see how this starts to mess with you. When you get to the end of the day and you’ve only had a piece of fruit or two and a salad, you feel you should eat. Your body needs a certain amount of calories to thrive, and it’s not like I’m couched up all day doing nothing (even then, you still need a minimum amount of calories to, you know…EXIST).

Every so often I’d eat just to eat, to keep my energy levels up. I felt fine - nothing else seemed wrong physically. I dialed back on my workouts to protect my caloric expenditure. What got me was the mental aspect. I started missing eating! Sure, you should lean more toward eating to live rather than living to eat but what’s so wrong with enjoying food for food’s sake?!! It’s one of life’s pleasures! I can’t tell you how stoked my salads make me. You can still honor your appetite while feeling gaga over grub. Eating is a necessity, so why not feel blissed while doing it?!

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Your diet, exercise routine, and stress level lay the foundation for how you feel, so fuel your body with good nutrition, break a little sweat each day, and set aside time to unwind.
Because it’s hard to feel bad about a body you’re taking great care of.

Okay, bringing it back to my post’s purpose. Amid all of the kind words and good vibes, I felt compelled to clarify my weight loss isn’t intentional. Personal evolution in all of its forms is a beautiful thing, and I don’t discredit it in any way, but…I think it’s important for us to push back against a world insisting we look a certain way. A world that praises emaciation over health. Visible muscles over a healthy metabolism. This is my reminder for us all (YES - ME INCLUDED!).

I’m not going to sacrifice my mental health to have the perfect body.
— Demi Lovato
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Simply because I’ve grappled with it myself, one of the causes for which I’m most passionate about advocating is self-acceptance, in all of its various forms. Especially in an era where social media heightens the stakes, amplifies the risks, and elevates the standards.

Shoutout to all the people out there trying to love themselves in a world constantly telling them not to.

Society offers conditional acceptance based on our physical appearance. The strongest, most rebellious act you can do is DARE to be your own self. Accept and love your body. Exercise and nourish it to amplify its health and strength, not its aesthetic and sex appeal. Honor and work with its natural rhythms. Stop fighting it, just because social media demands you look a certain way. This includes de-fogging the lens through which you appraise beauty (others and your own!) and rejecting the unattainable beauty ideals. Unconditionally loving and accepting yourself in a world that’s doing its damndest to change you is the most revolutionary act of all - and one that is CRUCIAL to your health and wellbeing.

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We come in all different shapes and sizes.

You do you, boo.

xx,

-w-

I would only lose weight if it affected my health or sex life, which it doesn’t.
— Adele
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SHOW m e THE m o n e y
Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

I think most of us can agree most of life's joy comes from enjoying the simple pleasures. A daily latte. A night out with friends. A massage.

Another truth is that successful adulting requires money management. Even if you're loaded, though you may have more breathing room, you still have to spend wisely to STAY loaded. 

The goal isn’t more money. The goal is living life on your own terms.
— Chris Brogan

So what about when finances are a little tight? Does that mean you have to miss out on those "treats" that bring you so much happiness?

NO!

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All you need is a simple mentality shift. Instead of thinking of ways to cut expenses, find ways to make more money. In other words, start some side hustles! Think of your current hobbies/skills you can leverage to bring in some more moolah. For example, maybe you could start tutoring math, or teaching piano. Maybe you could sew on the side (seamstresses are always needed!). 

I have a few side hustles: photography, styling (events/photo shoots/etc), ghost writing/editing, fitness teaching, designing and selling t-shirts. I also own an online clothing boutique. I genuinely dig doing all of these things.

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.
— Henry David Thoreau
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It's easy to think, "Oh, I'll just save money by couponing/DIYing/etc." Remember: Your time is worth money! You must consider the opportunity cost of time. Your time spent shopping for better deals/price comparing/cutting coupons may be better spent on a side hustle. Unless the "cutting back" measures really jazz you up (hello, extreme couponers!), then you're better off (financially and emotionally) spending your time making money off of what you're naturally good at and like doing anyway. So think of that the next time you're elbows deep in advertisements, searching for that $0.50 off toothpaste, or driving all over town to save a dollar or two on TP. Your gas, time, and sanity are worth more than that. Also: Ask the store you're currently patronizing if they'll price match. More often than not they will, and you just saved yourself a trip!

Those simple luxuries (note: simple - you'd have to do a lotttt of side hustling to fund a Gucci shopping habit) are part of what make life enjoyable! It's so fun to having small things to look forward to every day/week. You don't have to deprive yourself of those! 

If you make financial decisions with immaturity, you will be broke your whole life.
— Dave Ramsey
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Part of this strategy is keeping our structural expenses (housing, cars) low as a percentage of your regular income, so you don't have to worry about trivial expenses like lash fills, even as you're still putting money away. Although you can boost your cash flow with a side gig or two, you still need to be fiscally responsible and realistic. Don't go living above your means. If you don't have the money, don't spend it!!!!! It's as easy as that. That principle alone can save you a lot of debt and heartache, yet still somehow eludes soooo many people. When making a purchase consider the opportunity cost: What else could you buy with that money?

Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.
— Abraham Lincoln

Consider this: If you need to save more, and earning more isn't an option, cutting out those dinners, movies, and weekend trips require frequent doses of self discipline; whereas buying a less expensive house or vehicle requires only one or two episodes of self discipline. After that, you're good for years! 

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A great (fun!) read I recommend on the philosophy of money management is All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending by Laura Vanderkam. It's not your typical financial self-help book. According to her, the key is to change your perspective. Instead of viewing money as a scarcity, consider it a tool to creatively build a better life for yourself and your loved ones. She offers a contrarian approach to examine our own beliefs, goals, and values.  It'll cause you to think deeply on how to allocate your money to bring you true fulfillment. 

xx,

-w-

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DO IT TO IT
Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Be stubborn about your goals and flexible about your methods.
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Have you ever had a task you know you need to do, but you just cannot find the motivation to do it? You have a chore to check off, or an errand to run, or a call to make, or a paper to write.

Or maybe it's not yourself you're trying to motivate - maybe you're trying to prompt someone else to do something. You're trying to encourage your kids to do their homework, or your husband to start a garden with you. 

Wanna hear a cool motivational hack I found?

To give credit where credit's due, I'll start by saying I heard about this neato trick while listening to one of my fave podcasts: The Tim Ferriss Show. Tim was interviewing Daniel Pink, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author about work, management, and behavioral science so...bro knows his stuff. 

Here's how it works:

Let's say you're trying to talk yourself into getting your bunz off the couch and working out. Start by asking yourself: on a scale of 1 - 10, how motivated am I right now? Let's say you rate yourself at a solid 2. So you then ask yourself: Why am I not a 0? (Maybe a different direction than you thought it was going, right?) In response, some of the following reasons may come to mind: "I know exercise is good for me"; "I want to be healthy"; "I want to lose weight"; "I want to tone up"; "I want to be healthy for my kids"; "I'm training for a race and want to be ready."

Boom. You just articulated your own, autonomous, intrinsically motivated reasons for doing it. Not someone else's reasons. YOURS. It elicits and spotlights why you recognize it's something you ought to do. It can realign you to your initial motivation for committing to the goal. 

The key here is whenever you're able to prompt yourself/others to articulate your/their reasons for doing something, you're/they're more likely to follow through. 

Powerful, right?

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In a later post, we'll discuss intrinsic (internal; originating within the person) vs. extrinsic (external) motivation. 

Peace and blessings!

xx,

-w-

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