Seeing the Whole Picture


My phone crashed this week and I've learned more about Apple IDs than I ever cared to know - but wish I did! My new phone is fully stocked with hubs' contacts, messages, and pictures. I swear, the man hasn't deleted ANYTHING off his phone since he got it. The upside - looking back through alllll his pictures. This one caught my eye. 

When I was in the middle of my battle with an eating disorder - and for years after my recovery, I would look at pictures of myself and shred myself to pieces.

Focusing on all the parts of me that I didn't like.

Obsessing. Over-analyzing. Hyper-criticizing. 

Convinced that my self-criticism fueled my motivation. 

My criticism is my edge. If I don't push myself to succeed, I'll never reach my goals. I'll get lazy. Washed up. Fat. I'll go soft. 

That's the grip of fear. 

It convinces us that the harsh judgment will push us to our goals.

When in reality, the only place it's driving us is away from our dreams.

The relentless self-criticism beats us down. We become afraid to fail. We sink lower. We sabotage our own efforts.

We lose trust in ourselves. And the fear grows bigger. 

How do we find our way back to the driver's seat of our life?

By the very thing I resisted for years. By letting go of the self-criticism and embracing self-compassion.

I know. Self-compassion. It sounds like a fancy way for making excuses - letting ourselves off the hook.

 I had to read the research before I even considered it.

{And, it took me a while to digest.}

After so many years of the inner critic driving my decisions, taking those first steps was hard work. And so was living a life with an inner beast berating me every chance it could.

Now that I'm living it, I can tell you - embracing self-compassion has empowered me to take risks and go after my wildest dreams.

I'm not afraid to fail. I'm not paralyzed by fear. I'm not afraid to mess up and make mistakes. I'm not afraid to be seen.

Self-compassion has given me the GIFT of reflecting without all the over-analyzing + hyper-criticizing + judgment.

I rise faster, hold myself more accountable and own my mistakes because I am not burdened by the pain of shame.

Because, the thing is - self-compassion doesn't mean acceptance. 

It means we are kind and understanding toward ourselves, recognizing that we are doing our best.

It means we recognize that failure and imperfection is part of the shared human condition.

It means we are mindful of our actions, taking responsibility for them while also recognizing that they do not define who we are. 

It's powerful. 

And motivating. The kind of motivation that sets you free to achieve your wildest dreams.


I love this photo - taken last December when I was seven months postpartum after baby number four. Deep into my journey with self-compassion.

 You know what's so powerful about leading with self-compassion vs. fear?

Even when I wasn't where I wanted to be, I didn't get stuck in the hyper-analyzing, judging or hyper-criticizing. 

I was able to see the whole picture - to soak in the moments as they unfurled.

To feel joy. AND. Reach my goals. 

Crushing ourselves with criticism and shitting on ourselves with shame doesn't inspire or empower us.

And, it certainly doesn't encourage us to step out of our comfort zones to chase down our wildest dreams.

You are more capable than you give yourself credit for. That I know for sure. 

Go out and do the very things that set your soul on fire. 

Trust is built over time.

You've got this.  

You really do.

Samantha Livingstone is an Olympic Gold Medalist, transformational speaker, high performance coach and mama of four.  She inspires and empowers others to cultivate the courage, resilience and perseverance needed to let go of perfection and other limiting beliefs so they can live their dream. Samantha candidly shares her battles with her inner critic, depression, perfection, PTSD and parenting as a working mother because she believes in the transformative power of story – and the strength that comes from knowing we are not alone. She is on a mission to pay forward all that she’s learned to help others find joy and live free.  

A mama of heart warrior and mama of twins, Samantha and her husband, Rob, live in the Berkshires with their four girls.  

You can learn more about Samantha at