A vital part of our individual and collective healing involves quite a bit of discomfort. Uncovering our default thought habits and practicing meeting others and ourselves with compassion, care, and without judgment is challenging to say the least, but I’ve got something special for you today that is the ultimate tool for stepping into wild self-acceptance.
Codependent, perfectionist, and people-pleasing habits lead us down a road of acting out of integrity, agency, and authenticity. You probably resonate with the pain of not having your own back, of constantly trying to change the unchangeable, and the tool I’m introducing to you this week called “Of Course You Did” is the answer to accepting yourself as you are right now.
If you currently believe the BS story that self-flagellation is the key to change, listen in. I’m showing you why this only leads to more perfectionism and codependency, and how to begin using “Of Course You Did” to tap into curiosity and compassion for yourself.
This is Feminist Wellness, and I’m your host, Nurse Practitioner, Functional Medicine Expert, and Life Coach, Victoria Albina. I’ll show you how to get unstuck, drop the anxiety, perfectionism, and codependency so you can live from your beautiful heart. Welcome my love, let’s get started.
Hello, hello my love. I hope this finds you doing so well. So the other night we did this super fun goofy thing in Anchored, my six-month program, where we met on a random Tuesday night to tell super cheesy, corny, terrible jokes and then we danced.
So it was like, what do you call a cat with no legs? You guessed it, ground beef. Followed by Whitney, Lizzo, Gloria Estefan, and you heard me right on that Gloria Estefan because Miami Sound Machine lives on pasiempre. It was so amazing.
And there are so many reasons why I choose to do such a thing in my program, centered around helping women and gender nonbinary humans to reclaim their self-love and self-worth from the patriarchy and their conditioning.
And there are reasons beyond the fact that it was just stupid fun. And that reason is because being judgmental is part and parcel of the codependent, perfectionist, and people-pleasing way of being. Because we source our worth externally, not from ourselves, we are so scared of being judged by others.
Because in our unmanaged minds, their opinion of us is more important than our opinion of us. So we judge everyone else harshly because we fear that they will judge us harshly. And we want to get ahead of that possible pain by pre-rejecting them before they can even form an opinion about us, lest they actually reject or judge us after all.
Brains are amazing and they do such wild things to try to protect us. It’s like, wow, right? I mean, of course we need thought work. How else can you spot these circles that are brains are so conditioned to go in?
And what happens for us is we get into this thought habit where judgment is our go-to. It becomes the way we see the world, our lens if you will. Judgy thoughts become our norm. Thoughts like, “Ew, why is she wearing that? Ugh, they’re so loud, what is wrong with them? He is so rude, he never says good morning at work, he just launches into whatever he needs to say.”
And when the cassette tape in our minds is set to judging the world, of course we judge ourselves twice as hard. So as part of building and attending to a loving community spirit, for both the individual and collective good in Anchored, we get together to get vulnerable and to practice dropping the judgment.
We do this a lot in Anchored because growing our comfort with discomfort is such a key part of healing. So we gathered to look silly, to tell totally cringe-worthy jokes, and to dance. And when I tell you that we danced, I mean, I’m not saying any of us dance well or anything. We are seriously not on the whole what anyone would call good dancers, but that’s the point.
We show up as we are and we do this to practice meeting one another with love, with compassion, with care, and without judgment. Because the more we can see ourselves out in the world, practicing acceptance and releasing that desire to judge others so we can attempt to feel better about ourselves, the more it gets written into our psyches, wired into us as a new narrative for life.
It is safe for me to drop the judgment and to accept other people just as they are. I don’t have to condone their choices or approve of them. In fact, it’s not my business to even have an opinion about other people’s lives and choices.
I can accept that other humans will make the right choices for themselves. I don’t have to try to fix or manipulate or change or save them. That’s not my job. My job is to love and accept them from my big, open heart.
And we seriously did all of that the other night with our amazingly, outstandingly, terrible jokes and frankly, just as terrible dancing. And let’s be clear, I’m the first one that’s like, I move. I’m not calling it good dancing but it’s the best dancing. Know what I mean?
And so that brings me to this week’s handy and practical tool because you know this nurse loves getting super practical. So some weeks ago now I shared one of my favorite ways of shifting into acceptance with the people, places, and things in our lives, which is the tool, Of Course They Did, episode 113.
And you are absolutely going to want to listen to that one if you haven’t. It’s so good. So this tool is fabulous, a fan favorite in fact, because it gives us a way to recognize when we are in fantasy, wanting the world to be different than it is because we believe that that will make us feel safe in our own lives.
But it’s never true. You get to feel okay regardless of what other people say, think, or do. And when you’re anchored in yourself, when you have your own back and get real about what is, then you stop wasting your own time and energy judging others, judging the world, wanting to change the unchangeable, like you could turn the hurricane around. And instead, you can focus on the things you can influence, impact, and shift, starting with your own thoughts, feelings, actions, and the results you create for yourself.
And from this place of refocusing your energy on you, taking your energy back from codependent thinking, then you can make loving, aligned choices for your life, your mental and physical health, your joy, wellness, by accepting what is and then deciding how you want to relate to those facts.
For example, if you’re constantly judging your partner, constantly criticizing them in your mind or out loud, constantly disappointed that they did not in fact read your mind, if you are often resentful, how can you really tell if you want to stay with that person or if you’re judging from an avoidant default most, on anxious default mode?
Challenging to tease that apart without the cognitive distance that thought work brings. So to use of course they did, what you start to do is to get really fact-y on it, to state the facts of the matter, the circumstance in a neutral way, without adjectives, descriptors, or judgment.
And that can sound like, of course he didn’t do the dishes when he said he would, that’s not new or not normal or noteworthy, I don’t need to waste my energy by buffering with shock, surprise, and annoyance, because that’s what judging is too. It’s buffering against feelings you don’t want to acknowledge and feel.
It can sound like, of course they forgot to call when they were running late, they generally don’t remember to do that. That is a fact of loving them. Of course she didn’t put the toilet seat down after she peed, she generally doesn’t remember to do that and that is a fact of loving her.
And from there, from accepting the facts of loving people versus fighting for other people to be different in ways they may not ever want to be, you get to take ownership of your own life, your responses, and your reactions. You get to state what does and doesn’t work for you, and to decide for reals what is and isn’t acceptable in your life.
If you want to stay or go, have a conversation about limits and boundaries, come to a different commitment with the people in your life about shared space, mutuality, reciprocity, emotional and physical labor, or make moves for your own life to reclaim your time and space.
I use a similar tool for myself and my clients to help us to stand in the truth of our lives, to stop wishing we were different, and to start to reclaim our sense of self, which gets so clouded in codependency, perfectionism, and people pleasing, and we do this by dropping the judgment.
By stepping into acceptance and getting real about our own habits, our survival skills, our ways of being, so we can decide if we want to change those habits from a place of agency and empowerment from wanting to, not because someone else wants you to change. Not from that sense of obligation.
And this magnificent tool is of course I did. So let me back up for a second to share with you where this came from in my life. So my parents are people who enjoy quiet. They’re not like my loud Argentine family who talk over one another, who dance and laugh at full volume 24/7, who stay at the dinner table talking, laughing.
We do a lot of laughing. We tell terrible jokes. Oh, maybe that’s where my terrible joke thing comes from. That makes sense. I love finding the root. But my people will stay at the dinner table until 1am, 2am, over an asado, an Argentine barbecue.
My parents are nerdy people who love to read in the shade and I am and have always been a very loud, rambunctious, talkative, some might say gregarious little Leo mammal. And as a much younger person, I thought it was a problem that I was me.
I thought that I was inherently too much, that it was a problem and a bother that I’m a passionate, excitable, loud person, that I have a lot of feelings and a lot of words. And so I adopted modes of people pleasing, of trying to dull my light to not shine too bright, lest someone else say that I blinded them.
I tried this on for years and it resulted in my showing up across the board in my life in really inauthentic ways. Shapeshifting and chameleoning to try to others to approve of me. You know what? It never really worked because turns out, this is pretty wild coming from me, their thoughts create their feelings. And no matter how I attempt to show up, I can’t change the way human brains work.
So in the last decade, 15 years or so, I decided to stop trying. Decided to stop making myself into someone I am not, and frankly don’t want to be to try to make other people like me or feel better about me. To not try to be the quiet one, when that’s just not who I am.
And by that, I decided to stop trying, I don’t mean that I run into a library screaming or that I don’t honor people’s space. I am respectful, kind, not nice, I am kind, as much as a human can be, I know who I am and just what I’m capable of if I’m not managing my mind. So I manage it every day. I do thought work so I can show up in ways I can be proud of.
And so instead of trying to change me, I work with me. So for example, a lover of mine is an introvert. They really need their quiet time. So I’m thoughtful about how much I talk at them. And they were over the other day and I woke up with a lot of extrovert energy.
So instead of talking their sweet introvert ear off, I took myself to the hardware store so I could talk to strangers because I love talking to strangers because come on, Leo extrovert. So I’m respectful of others from a place of knowing myself, honoring my truth, and no longer judging myself for being me.
I have stepped into wild acceptance of me for all that I am, which is such a vital first step for all of us in reclaiming our sense of self, our self-trust, from the sticky grasp of codependent thinking, which implores us not to trust ourselves, like ourselves, be authentic and real, not to live with intention, attention, and integrity.
And I’m done with all of that. The truth of it all is I am me and I am certainly not for everyone. And finally, finally, that is truly okay for me. But deep in my bones, for really reals okay and it feels so good.
And the path to there included learning to say, “Of course I did.” Learning to own it, versus chronically disavowing myself and beating myself up for being the mammal that I am.
And so many of my clients tell this similar story of feeling like there’s something wrong with them, like they’re a problem, like they’re too much, like they’re broken, like they’re not enough, like they’re not worthy. And then they do a thing that in their minds doesn’t add up, doesn’t line up, doesn’t make them feel worthy enough.
And so they’re mean to themselves. And here’s the thing; all those years of me being mean to me, you being mean to you, it all never led to the change we wanted to see in life, right? The more I judged me, the more stuck in my old thought habits and patterns I was.
Heels dug in, dedicated, without even realizing it, to the story that I was the worst and thus not even worth the effort to try to change. And so we get to drop that BS story that self-flagellation leads to change because it’s just that. A BS old cassette tape in your mind, a thought, and certainly not a fact.
See, we get behavior change quite backwards most of the time, particularly when we’re coming from codependent thinking, which says I am the problem, I am not worthy. The story in our mind often goes that in order to do something differently, we need to feel bad about it and thus about ourselves, to make ourselves bad and wrong, to be penitent about how we’ve been doing it, to get all moralistic on ourselves and suffer.
Because we are a certain unacceptable way, imagining that going eight rounds in the boxing ring with ourselves is the thing that will make us shape up and show up as some magical unicorn perfect and uncriticizable version of ourselves.
We step into deep perfectionism around making change and we continue to be so mean to ourselves. And so our codependent thought habits take us to where they love to go to, all or nothing thinking. And we tell the story that we either show up perfectly, or we are abject failures, worthless humans because we goofed up once again. We are the actual worst.
Human dumpster fires not worthy of love, care, kindness from anyone, so we certainly don’t give that to ourselves. And the real throw down MMA style battle begins as we judge ourselves for what we did and then extra judge ourselves for judging ourselves because we totally know we shouldn’t be judging, right?
And then we judge ourselves for shoulding on ourselves and telling ourselves we shouldn’t judge ourselves for judging ourselves, and oh my goodness, that’s just freaking endless.
So what you get to do my beauty, when you find yourself in this loop is to pause, is to breathe, is to slow your roll for a hot minute before you perpetuate a second violence against yourself once again. My darling, being mean to you never led to sustainable change.
Frankly because science, because going into fight or flight with yourself isn’t exactly going to lead to change. Ventral vagal is a much kinder, more effective place to start, wouldn’t you say?
So what if you decided to bring in self-love, self-compassion? To say of course I did that because that was what I knew how to do in the moment, that’s what I was capable of doing then, and I want to learn a different way. And what if then you paused, put your hand on your heart if that feels supportive, and got real with yourself?
What if you asked yourself why it makes total, logical, complete sense that you did that thing? Reminding yourself that we’re all just works in progress, we all come from the past we come from and we’re just mammaling along, trying to do this human life the best we can today, given the skills and experiences we have.
That can sound like, of course I got defensive because defensiveness was modeled for me in childhood and I want to learn a different way. Of course I didn’t speak up for myself in that moment because I didn’t know how to bring somatic practices in to regulate my nervous system and I want to learn a different way.
Of course I was anxiously attached in that dating scenario and texted from that anxiety because I didn’t know how to be secure in myself yet and I want to learn a different way. Of course I was avoidantly attached when I was dating them and didn’t return their texts for three days because I grew up with so much anxious attachment, the connection felt suffocating that I don’t know how to be secure in myself yet and I want to learn a different way.
This, my love, is the invitation to get curious. Starting from self-love, compassion, understanding, from embodied somatic curiosity, curiosity that truly holds no judgment and just wants to know what is up, you get to ask these questions. Because of course you did.
Of course I did too. And we get to drop the story from our mind, body, and spirit that you should have done it any differently so you can get real around how you showed up and why, and what you want to do differently for the future.
You likely did whatever you did because you didn’t know how to manage your mind in that moment, how to get neutral about the circumstance, how to identify that habitual codependent, people-pleasing, perfectionist thought that got into your mind from your family blueprint, your conditioning, socialization, and you didn’t know how to identify and process the feeling that came from that thought through your body, how to connect somatically with the sensations that arise along with that feeling.
So my darling, you took action and created a result in your own life that you might not like or want to repeat. And you get to decide that it’s okay. That judging yourself for it changes nothing, wishing it was different changes nothing.
Owning it, accepting it, getting real with it, doing thought work and somatic practices around it opens up your internal capacity, the capacity within your nervous system to do it differently next time and to apologize now if you need and want to, to yourself or others.
And that starts with owning it and showing up with self-trust to truly have your own back and to mean it. To be your own best friend, your own most loving parent to your perfect inner children, to learn and grow, to evolve and change, to step into your power, to be kind to you while being firm and loving and to create and allow the space so you can do it differently next time.
Of course you did, baby. Of course I did too. We are doing the best we could with the skills we had. And judging us for our past mistakes, our recent F ups does nothing to change the past, present, or future.
Instead, my darling, try on being compassionate for you. Listen, if it’s not resonating, try it as an experiment. Try choosing kindness. It sure can’t hurt, and it’s worth a try. It might just help you actually love yourself enough to find the motivation within you to make change without being your own worst enemy. Because my beauty, of course you did, and of course I did too.
If what you’ve been hearing on Feminist Wellness is resonating for you, I want to invite you to check out Anchored. It’s my six-month program where we dive so deep on all of these issues. We really get into the nitty-gritty and I show up each and every week to relentless, fearlessly have your back, to coach you and to help you to see things like this.
Like that we beat ourselves up, things we can’t see always so clearly while we’re in the midst of living it. Anchored is my favorite place on earth. It is so amazing, and it’s six months in community with breathwork, thought work, somatic practices. It is the only wraparound truly holistic codependent, perfectionism, people pleasing healing program I have ever heard of.
Definitely the only one run by an absolutely gorgeous Argentine. So check it out, I’d love to have you join us. We start up again September 20th, 2021. If you want in, now’s the time, baby. Victoriaalbina.com/anchored.
Alright my darling, let’s do what we do. Gentle hand on your heart if that feels loving, close your beautiful eyes if it feels safe to. And remember, you are safe, you are held, you are loved. And when one of us heals, we help heal the world. Be well, my beauty. I’ll talk to you soon.
If you’ve been enjoying the show and learning a ton, it’s time to apply it with my expert guidance so you can live life with intention, without the anxiety, overwhelm, and resentment, so you can get unstuck. You’re not going to want to miss the opportunity to join my exclusive intimate group coaching program, so head on over to victoriaalbina.com/masterclass to grab your seat now. See you there. It’s going to be a good one.