2/11/20: Love You, Mean It!
The Morning Mantra is available on iTunes, Overcast, Stitcher, Youtube, Soundcloud, Spotify, Youtube and pretty much anywhere podcasts can be found. Transcripts forthcoming on the blog at www.coachedandloved.com
One thing I've learned since I started this podcast: when you start showing how deep you can go, you learn how many people are afraid of heights.
Hi! This is Coach MK, and THIS is The Morning Mantra.
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Hi, my name is MK Fleming. I'm a run coach based in Denver, Colorado. But this isn't a podcast about running, exactly. Don't tell my clients, but *whispers* we're never really talking about the running. When you know a crap-tastic event is coming it helps to have a mantra to keep you centered and focused as you move through it. You don't have to be an athlete to be hashtag #coachedandloved by coach MK. And if you are here, then you are hashtag #winningatlife.
Today's Mantra Is: Love You, Mean It!
It's Valentine's week! and I feel the need to address one word: love. What the eff does that word mean?
I may have told you this story before but imma tell you again: in 1995 I was on a student summer exchange in rural Russia, and the National pastime was bootleg cassette tapes. We would raid stop after stop, bringing back heaps of $1 cassettes wrapped in plain white labels with Cyrillic stamped unceremoniously on the front. We would ask our translator to tell us what it said, and we would guess what song we would actually hear. My favorite? Ona Vernylas- which means she returned. The song that started playing, was Baby Got Back. That's a big difference!!!
My 16-year-old brain was stuck on this concept, on the distance between the words we say, the words others hear, and how vast the distance can be between the two. it can almost be as wide as the distance between the right answer and the true answer, where we say the right answer over and over hoping at some point it will become true. As if that's how it works.
I wrestled with that simple word 'love' for years. What does it mean, and how do you know if it is real or performed? Especially if you aren't sure your experience in this world has in fact been loving? The Russian language has no less than 12 words for love, all different kinds of it: romantic love, superficial love, mild respect, adoration that has potential to blossom- the verbs are interesting because they indicate stasis, 'it is what it is', or 'motion' - it is what it is RIGHT NOW but it's definitely progressing" or in hindsight, "that was never destined to progress."
The translation of every single word I just indicated, all 12 verbs, is basically, "to love" . We don't really differentiate in English, which can make things confusing. The same word explains the fondness we have for a favorite book, hobby, pet or the person we do nasty things with.
It's no wonder we have no idea how to direct that verb towards ourselves.
Self-care is an odd concept because cultivating it requires us to do all the things we have been taught to avoid: taking pride in our abilities, noting the things we like about ourselves, taking credit for our accomplishments, looking for opportunities to reinforce those beliefs. This has been my experience as a woman, that I couldn't be loved if I needed love too much, that I couldn't be loved if I loved myself too much. In my thirties, the thought emerged that no one could love you until you loved yourself first. I almost wanted to find a Russian translation so I could get a better idea of what my best next step would be.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy provided a roadmap. I would set a timer and spend 5 minutes looking myself in the eyes each morning, complimenting myself. On anything. And everything. Whatever came to mind- I had to find nice things to say to myself about myself. It was awkward as hell at first, but before too long I was saying to myself all of the things I wanted to hear, the things I never heard. So when I re-connected with a grad school classmate a few months later, and he would talk to me as though he saw me the way I wanted to be seen, I finally understood that love doesn't have to be one thing, what I needed to understand was what I wanted, and needed, love to be. Nine years later, even on our worst days, I'm still sure.
So, the mantra: in a week when we are surrounded by messages of love, if you find yourself sad or confused, or just feeling bad about yourself, hear my voice in the back of your head cutting those thoughts off like a Mac truck on the interstate, and say, "love you, MEAN IT!"
When you get home, take a s econd to look in the mirror. Pause, look yourself in the eyes, then say, "I love you". In that moment if a part of you collapses, if the dam breaks and the tears flow the way mine did the first few times I did this, stay in that moment. Say it again. Sit in that moment. Keep coming back to this moment and you'll learn what you need love to be, which makes it a hell of a lot easier to find elsewhere.
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You are Coached. You are Loooved, and you ARE winning at life. And you're definitely winning at life if you subscribe to my Nuzzel Newsletter, follow me on Facebook or follow me on Instagram. feel free to do all three!