The Girl Staring Back at Me

 
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Wait a second,
Why should you care, what they think of you
When you're all alone, by yourself
Do you like you? Do you like you?  -Colbie Caillat

Do you? 

As painful as it is to write - it's my truth :: For too many years, my answer was a resounding no. 

Today? This song {Try} is on a playlist that I listen to with my girls on the daily. When it comes on, tears roll down my cheek - as we all sing at the top of our lungs.

Tears of joy. For a woman who's learned how to step into this space of self-love.

Fully + completely. 

Tears of joy. For the four beautiful girls who are singing along with me.

For so many years, I was buried underneath the roars of an inner critic.

If you are there - I'm with you. I know how loud it can get. 

You are not alone.  

Over 97% of women - NINETY-SEVEN percent - have at least one body shaming moment every day. We are silently suffering. Side-by-side.

It's doesn't have to be this way. 

There's another way of living that brings deeper, richer joy - and inner peace - AND growth.

All of it.

It's time to release the toxic and debilitating weight of shame around our bodies. 

For ourselves. And our girls. 

Because, eighty-one percent of 10 year old girls worry about becoming fat. 

Stop.

Breathe those in. Our ten year old girls?

These stats are appalling and not at all surprising.

Especially when I consider my own relationship with the mirror.

Even as an Olympic Gold Medalist. Because, shame doesn't discriminate. And you better believe that when perfection drives, it's riding shotgun.

If we want to stand in front of that mirror alone with ourselves, and freely and unapologetically give + receive love, we must rumble with the hard stuff.

We can do the hard stuff. 

Because not doing the hard stuff is harder.

Staring into a mirror - shredding myself into pieces :: thighs, butt, stomach, shoulders, belly, face... analyzing every body part separate from the whole. That's harder.

Constantly checking. Comparing. Studying. Hyper-focused on all the parts of me I hated. That's harder.

Dehumanizing. Using nasty, cutting words and believing that somehow that those words would motivate me - to become the 'ideal.' I would walk away from the mirror feeling defeated and never good enough. Not even a gold medal would do. That's harder.

I never made eye contact with myself. I never saw myself as whole. That's harder.

I hated mirrors. And I needed them - at least that's what the inner critic told me. That's harder. 

~

We are BOMBARDED.

And even though we know better - our girls are too. 

Social media. Movies. Magazines. Television. Clothing stores.

And for me and too many others athletes - our coaches. 

So many messages. 

We are swimming upstream in a culture that tells us what beauty looks like. More stats. The average American woman is 5'4 and weighs 140 lbs. The average American model is 5'll and weighs 110 lbs. 

I'm not usually big on stats because numbers don't define us. AND. I know that in order to really rumble, we need to have a critical awareness of where our beliefs about beauty - and our worthiness are born.

Awareness is empowering. And. There’s a countercurrent that’s forming. 

“A new day is coming.” -Oprah Winfrey
 

In so many ways.

It's time to step back into the driver's seat of our life. It's time to release the grip of the inner critic - the voice that's constantly telling us we aren't enough. 

This isn't work we do alone. 

It's time to link arms.

And walk - together - one step at a time.

~

In my work with women over the past four years, I have learned so much. 

I feel comfortable saying that for almost all women, the hardest work has been rejecting the false dichotomies. And unhinging our worthiness from conditions. 

We don’t have to choose :: self-love or growth. 

They can co-exist, despite the roars of the inner critic.

The former ignites the latter and inspires meaningful change. 

LOVING ourselves even when we aren’t where we *want* to be takes COURAGE.

Looking into the mirror with GRATITUDE and AWE at the miracle that is our beautiful body. 

Seeing ourselves - WHOLE. 

AND. 

Seeking growth. 

The kind of growth that comes from a place of LOVE. 

That is the birthplace of our magic.

Because, we are worthy of love + belonging - without conditions.

Because, we are strong. Because, we are fiercely capable. 

We have an opportunity.

To walk to freedom. 

Are you ready?

{the you underneath}

~

Whether we want them to or not - our girls {and boys} see how we look at ourselves. They hear how we talk to ourselves.

Shaping their narrative + belief system - about themselves and the world.

{I see you inner critic.} Now is not the time for shame. Because, chances are you've been doing the best you can with the tools you have.

This is not time for the inner critic to roar about all the ways you should be showing up for your kids - and yourself. 

We have to start where we are - not where we wish we were.

Allow self-compassion and LOVE to lead you.

And be ready for a roaring inner critic. That's OK. Let it roar. We're not going to fight that fight anymore. We're going to step back into the driver's seat and LIVE our life.

~

I do mantras with all my girls - and when they look in the mirror and see themselves - you can see the sparkle in their eyes.

Hearing R's little voice this morning - repeating back the words of love filled my heart with the deepest joy.

Do you have that sparkle when you see you? 

I shared a tiny clip of it on Facebook tonight. A new level of vulnerability for me, sharing these private moments. And, I know there's a little girl inside each of us. So I shared.

Because, with courage + support, we can reconnect with that little girl. And find that sparkle again.

 
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Ten days - five mantras.

You + the mirror.   

You up for it?? ✨ 

We're doing a mini-challenge in the I AM group space - and we'd love for you to join us. {It's still open. Because having support + love + connection + accountability in our lives LIFTS us higher.}

Because, teamwork makes the dream work. We really are stronger together.

To join us, head over here

~

If you are more the 1:1 type, head over here to set up a free strategy call

~

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Samantha Arsenault Livingstone is an Olympic Gold Medalist, transformational speaker, high performance coach, and mama of four girls. She inspires and empowers athletes, forever athletes and never-been-athletes to cultivate the courage, resilience and perseverance needed to let go of perfection and other limiting beliefs so they can live their dreams. She helps her clients arrive at their own gold medal moments whole - opening up the door for freedom, balance and joy that transcends. She is the founder of Livingstone High Performance, LLC. and the Rise Free Academy.

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 www.samanthalivingstone.com.