writing prompts

Writing Prompts: Lookin’ for Love in all the Wrong Places?

Do you remember the country song “Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places”? It was recorded by Johnny Lee as part of the soundtrack for the movie Urban Cowboy in 1980. Growing up in Texas, I listened to a lot of country music and this song was super popular for a short period of time. The lyrics have always stuck in my head as catchy and oh-so-true.

These lyrics were true when I was in my teens trying to find a boy who liked me for me. These lyrics were true in  my twenties when I was spending time lookin’ for love in dance halls and graduate classes. Today they are true for a completely different reason. I spend too much time lookin’ for love externally rather than focusing on loving myself.

Yesterday I was blogging about what feelings I want to focus on for 2013 and love is on the list. Fortunately, I have a wonderful husband who is the love of my life. We will celebrate 17 years of marriage this year and of course, when I found him 20 years ago, I wasn’t even lookin’ for love, oh the irony of it all.

Unfortunately, I am not so good at self-love, loving acceptance, non-judgement, self-care… all those words that mean I treat myself with as much tenderness, care and unconditional love as I treat my husband and my kids. I had a realization recently that I talk to myself in a way that I would never ever talk to another human being. Can you relate?

I am better than I used to be. I manage to mix self-love with self-censure and most days even manage to focus more on the positive than the negative. I think the backlash of the holidays is a realization that I have eaten too much, drunk too much and not gotten enough exercise or alone time. I feel puffed up like a tick on a dog and ready to get back to my normal routine. We have had tons of company over the holidays and while all of the great food, fantastic company and fun activity were wonderful, I am tired and feel disconnected from myself.

As I was journaling this morning, the line “Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places” popped into my head. I realized that when I feel disconnected from myself, I tend to look externally for something to make me feel better about me: a new exercise routine, a new diet, new running shoes, a new plan to improve me. The more I focus on “improvement” the less I focus on acceptance. Even John Travolta’s character in Urban Cowboy had to learn this lesson. Only I can create my happy ending.

Here are four writing prompts for exploring your relationship with yourself:

1. I feel most connected to myself when… Write a paragraph or list of the actions that help you to feel at peace. When you remain connected to your core strength, you have more energy, time, love and passion for the rest of your life.

2. Write about a time in your life when you really loved who you were (was it only 5 minutes on a vacation? A year in college? When you were single?)

3. If you can’t remember a time when you really loved who you were, that’s okay. Take time right now to make a list of accomplishments you are proud of: your career, marriage, kids, college success, sticking to a budget, running a 5k. No matter how large or how small, we have all done things to be proud of. When we take time to make a list, it reminds us that we are good people with good intentions and that we deserve our own love and appreciation.

4. What are you really good at? Make a list, share it with a few close friends and see what they would add to the list. What they have to share with you will surprise you!

My personal commitment to finding love in all the right places

I resolve to focus more on me this year, not in a selfish way that takes time away from my family, but in a way that makes me feel better so that I have more energy and am a better role model for my kids. Feeling good about myself is sexy, too. I guarantee it. Your spouse or intimate partner will notice the difference. A few small shifts in how you talk about yourself and show appreciation for yourself will have a powerful, positive impact on your life, marriage and your business!

I am ready for the shift, are you?

If you feel like you need more support and would like to be part of a group of women committed to growing together, checkout my membership group, the HeartWise Sister Circle.