Courageous Conversations: Maria

Maria has been a constant presence in our space since we started The Self Love Society and this month, we sat down to talk about what Self Love means to her. Maria leads a busy and full life, self-employed in the insurance industry and a present and involved Grandmother of two. Her roles as a wife, mom of three, and grandmother are ones she takes seriously and dedicates a lot of herself to. Maria loves the color red, and enjoys a delicious pasta meal (don’t we all?). We talked about her journey and her practices of self-love on a beautiful late morning. 

In response to the question “What does Self Love mean to you?” Maria begins, “To me it just means whatever it is that makes you happy” then mentions “Everybody’s self-love is different.” It’s so true that everybody is going to experience their self love experiences and practices differently, and I loved this acknowledgement.  “For me, it’s my workouts.” continued Maria. Maria’s workouts are her favorite part of the day because they allow her to take some time to reconnect to herself and disconnect from her many responsibilities for a short period of time. “Whether it’s hard or an easy walk, it’s that me time.” 

When asked why self love is so important, Maria spoke of how her practice allows her to be more present for her family and through all of her responsibilities. “Everybody needs something from me, whether it’s time babysitting grandkids or going with my daughter to classes”, states Maria, elaborating that life is “always pulling me in different directions”. Her practice allows her to take a little time each day to disengage. “It takes me down to remind me to love myself, that thirty minutes of my workout I can focus on me and fill myself back up, to be able to give.” This highlights a struggle for many women, especially women with families and young children to care for. Often, our needs can be put on the backburner, but though we do this with the best of intentions, it can leave us feeling depleted. By taking a half hour to work out and have her me time every day, Maria is better able to ensure she has space to hold for the people that need her. 

Maria’s journey of self love “has definitely been up and down. I start really getting into more of my self care ,self love, and it seems like every time I have a breakthrough everything just tumbles down.” Maria goes on to elaborate that taking more time for her can put a strain on some of her relationships. “The harder I am trying to be a better person, things around me tend to fall apart, it almost makes me want to stop.” Maria muses, adding that sometimes she feels like that conflict is caused by her efforts. In truth, this isn’t unusual. A lot of times we can meet resistance from our support systems when we are leveling up because they are going through their own emotional response to what we are doing. The important thing is to work towards finding a balance and continuing to grow on our journey in whichever ways we can, and to remember that resistance is always hardest before a major shift. 

Speaking of growth, Maria has been focusing on how she shows up in her own life. “When I worked with Danielle on one of the calls I was saying I was used to being the person in the background.”  She explains “I didn’t need people to know I was helping to push them forward and up”, but is now thinking she wants to break out of that unseen support role. “Every time I try to break out from behind the scenes I get pushed back, but that might be my comfort zone that I get pushed back.” She intends to continue working on herself to become more bold and outgoing so she can break past that comfort zone.

Maria is no stranger to the power of journaling or meditation either. When asked about those practices she confides that they helped her get through the pain of her mom’s passing, “especially the journaling. I didn’t need to say anything, I could just write it down, and the meditation brought calmness and peace.”

I am so grateful to have had the chance to connect with Maria and talk about her experiences with self love. I appreciate her honesty about the struggles she faces about balancing her responsibilities to others and to herself, and know many women can find themselves in Maria’s words. I wish her the best of luck as she cultivates that bold and outgoing piece of her so she can break out of that supporting role and step into the power she’s creating for her future.

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