Reclaiming Self

I just got off of InstagramLive. The video I uploaded to my account is now the 10th episode of M.B.S.W.N.: Mind, Body, & Soul With Nia.

Screenshot of the collection of my InstagramLive M.B.S.W.N. videos

I created the M.B.S.W.N. InstagramLive series as a Lenten practice. (For those unfamiliar with what Lent is, it’s the 40 days before Easter, and it’s a time in which followers of Jesus sometimes choose to give something up as a way to reflect more intentionally on one’s relationship with the world and God. People choose to give up things like meat, Netflix, online shopping…the options are endless.) This year, on February 17, 2021, I chose to give up perfection & my fear of failure. And I decided that giving up my idolization of perfection would look like showing up, unscripted and live on Instagram, once a week. Being Live-time meant I couldn’t practice perfection–there were no redos and no edits–I simply had to show up and be me and believe I was enough.

It was hard, I’m not gonna lie. As the weeks went by, I would see less and less people watching my videos, and unhelpful questions flooded my mind like ants to honey:

Do people not like me? Am I boring? Am I not worthy of people’s time?

And then I would stop and remind myself why I was doing this as my Lenten practice: To learn to embody the Truth that I am not worthy and loved because of what I do, but simply because I am. I would take a breath and remind myself that people don’t choose to be my friend because they want me to perfectly produce Instagram content, but because they simply love me. And I would remind myself that I was making these videos for me, because I believed I had something to say; I believed my voice was valuable, and that was enough. I was enough.

Over those 40 days of posting weekly IGLive videos, I grew in believing I was loved and worthy, even in my imperfections. Some weeks one or two people would message me saying they were impacted by an M.B.S.W.N. video I uploaded, and some weeks no one would; through it all I was challenged to know and trust that I am always and already loved.

That was 186 days ago. And yet, I’m still creating M.B.S.W.N. episodes. Why? I’m still creating IGLives because I still need the reminder to give up my fear of failure. I’m still creating IGLives because healing from unhealthy thought patterns is a process not a point.

And so, as a part of this process, I’m hoping I can perhaps bring my 2021 Lenten practice of giving up perfection/fear of failure to my blog site as well. Maybe I can write and share posts more regularly without agonizing hours upon hours over whether or not what I’ve written is good enough. Maybe I can remind myself that I write for me, because I believe I have something to say, I believe my voice is valuable, and that is enough; I am enough.

I know I want to at least try. 

So here’s a simple and imperfect reflection on what inspired my most recent M.B.S.W.N. episode

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M.B.S.W.N Episode 10: I Trust MySelf

Terry Tempest Williams writes in her book, When Women Were Birds:

“For far too long we have been seduced into walking a path that did not lead us to ourselves. For far too long we have said yes when we wanted to say no. And for far too long we have said no when we desperately wanted to say yes…When we don’t listen to our intuition, we abandon our souls. And we abandon our souls because we are afraid if we don’t, others will abandon us. We’ve been raised to question what we know, to discount and discredit the authority of our gut.” (114)

We abandon our souls because we are afraid if we don’t, others will abandon us. 

I can’t stop thinking about this quote. And I can’t stop thinking about the question:

In what ways have I abandoned myself?

Just this week, I can identify moments when I wrote text messages and showed up in conversations in ways inauthentic to myself because I was scared of losing the attention/affection of another person. I feared that if I said something or didn’t say something, if I did something or I didn’t do something, I would be rejected and neglected. 

But today, I am grateful for Terry Tempest Williams and for this quote because it is an invitation to reclaim myself. It is a call to spy out the ways in which I am tempted to abandon myself in pursuit of the praise and presence of others, and to instead courageously choose ME. 

Today, with compassion and grace, I invite myself, and you, to take a breath and to honor our guts and our desires and our intuition. Today, I invite us to take a moment to place a hand on our hearts and a hand on our bellies and to breathe deeply, saying:

Breathe In: I trust myself.

Breathe Out: I forgive myself for the moments that I have abandoned myself. 

Breathe In: I forgive myself for the ways in which I’ve prioritized the wellbeing of others at my own expense.

Breathe Out: I realize though it may have helped me survive in the past, self-abandonment no longer serves me. 

Breathe In: I trust myself.

Breathe Out: I am reclaiming my voice and my gut, my desires and my truth.

Breathe In: I am returning to myself.

Breathe Out: I trust me. 

And so I pray:

Dear God, help me trust mySelf. And help me see that trusting Self is trusting You because You made me. Infinite Love, help me belive that what I feel in my body and what I sense in my gut is Divine Spirit guiding me into my truest and fullest sense of Being. Help me trust that You are indeed Emmanuel–God with us. And in the moments I might abandon mySelf out of habit and fear, draw me back to You, oh Divine Love, draw me back to Self. Amen.

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