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      Unorthodox tools.

      unorthodox tools | kourtney thomas fitness life coach

      I have a very large number of selfies in my camera roll.

      I guess I’m probably not alone in that, but sometimes, it still seems a little weird. Like, I can’t quite put my finger on when this became a thing.

      I can, however, put my finger a little better on why it became a thing for me, and you likely won’t be surprised to learn the answer: social media. I mean, what is a personal brand or a business on the internet but a collection of selfies captioned with introspective, insightful, oh-so-much-value-providing words? I jest…mostly. Because selfies have definitely become a significant component and contributor to a lot of successful businesses. Again, that seems so weird to say, but here we are.

      I have absolutely zero against selfies. Hence, why I have so many in my photos. Feeling myself? YES, PLEASE, LET’S DOCUMENT. Love every bit of it. Having a good hair day? Oh, for sure keeping track of that. Liking how I look sans makeup today? Snap, recorded for posterity. Enjoying this special occasion look, complete with cat eye liner? Heck yes, let’s have a visual record.

      For a long time, taking those selfies was a thing I did with essentially one intention: to post them on the internet and receive external validation.

      Please, tell me I’m pretty.

      And the internet rarely failed me. If I happened to post a selfie that fell into the broad, societally accepted category of pretty, I was, indeed, validated. *insert heart eyes emoji here*

      For a long time, too, that validation actually felt like what I needed. It felt like I got what I was after from a visibility standpoint, sure. But it also felt like it filled me up and met my actual needs to feel like a worthy human being. As long as someone else acknowledges you’re pretty, then it’s the truth. Whether you believe it or not is irrelevant.

      And then, things started happening.

      One, social media changed. Personal branding changed. Online business changed. Believe me, I like change, and I accept it, so I’m not being critical of this. It’s the way the world works. But it all started to change in ways that no longer felt good, or even acceptable, to me. Everything started to feel like a drag, like a game. Everyone and everything started to look the same. And the second I started to fall into that trap too, I started to question what the hell I was doing, and why. Granted, it took me a while – years – to work through that, but still, I began to keep a more discerning eye on what was going on and how I was feeling.

      Second, I started to fucking like myself more. Jesus, that feels ridiculous even typing it, but it’s true, and it changed my life. Perhaps it came from gaining awareness of point number one above, perhaps I’m just aging and maturing (like a fine wine, y’all). Certainly, it came from work of my own. But much like the internet and social media, I changed.

      Slowly, the undisputed truth of external validation began to feel hollow. Eventually, it felt stupid and frustrating. And over time, the internal, inherent worth I felt for myself, the skills in self-validation I was able to cultivate, felt so much more valuable, relevant. I not only believed I was pretty, but because I was the one acknowledging that for myself, it felt like an even more solid truth.

      I don’t need you to tell me I’m pretty. I already know.

      I hope you understand that “pretty” is only one element of a much bigger conversation. Pretty isn’t really what matters. It’s not necessarily something to care about. It was something I felt burdened with, my vehicle for self-discovery and growth.

      The point is not that you need to see yourself as pretty, believe it, understand the truth of it, regardless of external validation about it. (Although, I would certainly love for you to see yourself in this way too, if it matters to you.) The point is that relying solely on external validation to prop you up about literally anything you feel insecure or unsure about will only turn your world into a house of cards. One tiny puff of air and *poof* the whole thing is gone.

      We need a firm foundation of self.

      It’s natural to seek external validation sometimes, in some ways. I still do it, of course. But not nearly as often as I used to. And these days, it’s merely a secondary touchpoint, a +1 to what I already knew to be inarguably true myself.

      That’s because I’ve rebuilt my foundation, and I didn’t outsource the construction to somebody else.

      And whew, it has been a lot of work. Excavating. Redesigning. Pouring out, pouring in. Buying new tools. Building. Waiting. Tearing some more stuff down. Building some other stuff all over again. And finishing, but never really finishing. It’s a freaking sweaty endeavor to put in this kind of work on yourself, and I’m not even talking about . But it’s pretty nice not to feel like a guest in somebody else’s house all the time, y’know?

      A curious thing happens when you like yourself more.

      You become instantly, so much clearer on what matters, and what doesn’t. Who’s important to you, who’s not. What brings meaning to your life, what doesn’t. How you want to live, how you don’t. And all of those things become easier to choose. When you start from the simple truth of believing in yourself first, trusting yourself, validating internally, everything ends up different.

      When I a month ago, I had this thought of, “If nobody on the internet tells me I’m pretty, is it still true?” Kind of like, if a tree falls in the forest, and there’s nobody there to hear it, does it make a sound?

      And the funniest thing happened, I heard the sound. The answer was, of course, yes. In fact, I saw myself as even prettier, inside and out, with only myself to make the judgment. I marveled at myself more in the mirror, took a few more selfies, scrolled through them just to admire this beautiful creature I have become. I feel pretty on the daily because I believe it’s true. Sure, I fish for compliments from my husband sometimes, but in line with the above, that fills me up because he matters to me, what he thinks and believes about me means a lot to me. And because I fished already knowing I’m a hottie (do people say that anymore?), it just feels like a +1 and a smile, rather than another fragile card teetering on top of a rickety house of self-doubt or self-loathing.

      I guess you could say that taking approximately a million selfies over the last eight years or so has been a labor of love. What seems a bit frivolous from the outside has actually been the tool with which I’ve built my solid foundation inside. Maybe my tools and construction plan and schedule have been a bit unorthodox, but at the end of the day, all I care is that the job gets done and the house of self-worth is no longer always one gentle breeze away from tumbling down completely.

      All I care is that I like myself.

      Basic, perhaps. But vital, without a doubt. And surprisingly tough for a lot of us to do in this world. I also care that you like yourself, so listen, whatever you think or know, or want to think or know about yourself – it’s true. Nobody needs to tell you that! I will, of course, add my +1, if or when you ever need me to. But before I do, I’ll tell you this:

      Find ways to like yourself – more, first, always, because that’s where the truth is.

      Hell, like your own post if you need to. What’s so wrong with that? Use the tools that’ll help you build your foundation of self, because if you believe you’re worthy first, that house will stand.

      I’m such a big fan of finding and utilizing new and different tools. Learn a ton of them for liking your physical body by signing up for Fitness Unraveled coaching . Learn more self-discovery tools each week by signing up here.

      Coaching can be daunting, so let’s ditch that and just talk about what you need.

      Book your (completely free) call to see how this feels in your guts.

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