My Brave Heart starts with self-care and self-love.
From the time I can remember, my father has ALWAYS been the most positive man I have known. In his wisdom he is humble, his smiles light up a room, and his heart can be felt the minute you look at him.
As kids, my brother and I would hear him come home and we would rush to the front door and jump in his arms for hugs. Then “game on"... my brother and I would wait until he took his cowboy boots off, COOLEST BOOTS EVER! We both wanted to put on our dad’s boots! Most of the time we would end up with one boot each!
My dad has always been there for me unconditionally. I have and always will look up to him in every way. I watched my dad find the good in most everything. I wondered how he did this?
Now, as a parent, I could see how he could have been so mad at us kids. Yet, he wasn’t. Instead of getting angry, he chose to rationalize and explain what we did and why it was a bad or good choice. The keyword here is CHOICE. He was teaching us that our actions are our choices.
Self-Love is Unconditional
My dad taught me that unconditional love meant he would love me no matter what mistakes I made, but also to own my mistakes and love myself in spite of them. This is a Brave Heart.
To awaken my Brave Heart is to still believe in myself no matter what. Mistakes are lessons. Without judgment, I remind myself of all my strengths and accomplishments which all are part of who I am, which includes all my shortcomings. OMGoodness, I’m human!
I made it through the school of “Hard Knocks” in my life so far with grace, coming out stronger and wiser and more confident. I survived my parent's divorce, my own divorce, single motherhood, entrepreneurial successes, and failures, to name a few.
In this journey I call my life, I reflect on what I have enjoyed and the challenges I have overcome. All the good and the bad have molded me into the person I am today. I’m able to face my hurts, fears, doubts, betrayals, and desires. I am embracing the lessons behind each emotion. It hasn’t been easy.
Yet here I am writing this blog, sharing my Brave Heart! Like many of us, at times I still feel like there is a missing piece to my self-love. I sometimes have feelings of sadness, overwhelm, and worthlessness.
But in spite of it all, I am thriving. I have a healthy marriage to my best friend, a wonderful blended family, supportive friends, a beautiful home, healthy kids, dogs (really big ones!), turtles, and a business.
Pop N' Positive
My life hasn’t always been rainbows and butterflies, but I will say this - I make the choice daily to find the light and positive in myself and in everyone around me. Good Days, Bad Days to most Days - I’m Pop N' Positive as I say to my kids. I even put up post-it notes throughout the house, so everyone can embrace my daily dose of love.
Even as positive as I can be for others, I still need time to internalize what I need for myself. I find that for me, “Self-Love requires Self-Care.” I need both to bring balance and harmony in my life to maintain my positive mindset.
It’s on me to give myself self-love and self-care to see the bright side of any dark situation. I make a conscious decision each day to wake up and embrace the day to give myself a healthy mindset, so I can focus on positive energy.
It’s not easy for me to do. I often find myself too busy for me. Last year with the pandemic, suddenly there was time, a lot of time for self-reflection. Putting the positive in motion was a must for survival. I used this time to know myself, my mind, my gifts, my spirituality. I took a pause and looked around, and saw how I needed to get back to myself.
I try to give myself kindness. Self-care is taking those actions to give me the self-love that I deserve. WOW! Did I just have a moment of conscious clarity? It starts with a mindset for me of mindfulness, discipline, motivation, and a purpose.
I realize that even at my worst when I had one of those “why me” moments, I have always gotten through them by choice. I chose to face my challenges, let go of my ego and just be okay in my own skin. To “just be” is a form of self-love. I try to focus on what serves me to be the best me for myself and others.
Here are some simple tools I use for my own self-love to cultivate a Strong Mind, Brave Heart, Wise Body, and Noble Spirit:
Morning Beverage: I start my day with a cap full of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar into a half-filled smaller teacup of warmed water, plus half a squeezed lemon, a little ginger, a dash of honey, and a dash of cinnamon.
Essential Oils: I add Awaken essential oil to my diffuser or directly to my heart or wrist or both.
Healthy Breakfast: I have avocado toast with strawberries or my yogurt and oats.
Move and Mindfulness: A quick workout, even if only 5 mins, no joke. If I don't have the time, I might just do 20 jumping jacks or push-ups or GET REAL WITH SOME BURPEES. Maybe it's a soft yoga flow practice, or I just sit in bed in stillness and meditate (especially on the days my bed won’t let me get up-LOL!).
Meditation: Meditation plays a huge part in my self-care. It helps me release what may be holding me down or clouding my thoughts. I dive deeper into my subconscious, so I can understand myself and make choices that serve me in a positive way.
Breathing Practice: Breathing practices help me connect my mind, body, and soul. Conscious breathing helps me become present and more aware. I can calm my mind, and or energize my body, depending on what I need at the moment.
Talking: Talking Out Loud: Talking to another person, or even to myself, brings out my Brave Heart. Talking helps me release thoughts and feelings that are weighing heavy on me and could potentially hold me back. It gives me a sense of inner peace. Talking helps me recognize my own patterns, and learn how to let those go so I can be more like my father - always smiling, always positive.
If you ask my dad, he will tell you that positivity is a choice he has made so he can be the best version of himself. Hands down, I can say after being raised by a man with such a Strong Mind, Brave Heart, Wise Body, and Noble Spirit that he taught me to confidently choose to live through my Brave Heart.
I am so grateful for my father, my husband, and my brother for seeing the Positive Light in me and pushing me to take my BRAVE HEART to new limits.
Author, Robin Pusateri is a Managing Partner of Live Free Mindfully, which provides yoga and mindfulness programs for youth and adults who serve them. She is a 200-hr RYT, teaching yoga for 7 years, as well as a fitness trainer for the last 20 years. Robin is a fully licensed cosmetologist and medical esthetician who believes that beauty begins within. She is happily married to Nate, a mother to Nick, and two bonus daughters, Sophia and Natalie.