Recap: Cocktails x Conversations with LIVELY
A Reflection on Self-Love
February 20, 2019
In collaboration with LIVELY, we hosted a Cocktails x Conversations on the topic of self-love.
It’s not surprising, but February is a month where “love” becomes a heightened focus. Oftentimes, the focus is only on external relationships, and we were craving a real and vulnerable dialogue on our most important relationship, which is the one we have with ourselves. We asked the women to tell us about their journeys.
With an established career in fashion at notable companies such as The Row or Instyle, Ruthie explains that “a career in fashion didn’t give me an eating disorder but it surely did not help matters.” Suffering from an eating disorder since high school, her illness became much worse in her late 20’s. Seeking treatment at age 28, she had this incredible experience of bonding with her support group, but upon leaving treatment, she felt the loss of a consistent support system. After writing about her experience in InStyle, her co-founder, Christina, reached out explaining she had a very similar experience. From that, the Chain was born to give women suffering from an eating disorder in the fashion industry a supportive network.
Nina reflected upon the phrase, “It is easier to connect the dots forward” - meaning that it’s easier to see the connections and the defined path only when looking back. Her journey started 6 and half years ago when she lost her brother to suicide. Shortly thereafter, her new job at Oscar became her lifeline. She learned that her passion for people could actually be her job, and it’s where she met the future founder of Alma. Alma’s initiative is to help destigmatize mental illness and create a space for healing. Alma is elevated therapy experience rooted in community
Growing up, for Larissa May, or better known as Larz, mental health was a phrase not really spoken in her house. While mental health wasn’t spoke about, anxiety and depression were definitely felt. Through high school and college, she would suffer intense bouts of depression where she would contemplate suicide or moments where her depression was so bad that her dorm roommate had to move out. During this time, she never sought help. But, after one bad anxiety attack during NY fashion week, she realized that she wasn’t alone in this fight and the comparison trap that social media perpetuates was plaguing the students on her campus. Born out of her dorm room, she created #HalfTheStory as a movement to show not only one’s highlight reel but to encourage her community that they aren’t alone when they are experiencing difficult times.
Marianne Williamson teaches that there are two fundamental emotions that all other emotions derive from - love and fear. And life is constantly a journey away from fear and back to love.
Ruthie explained that her journey to self-love is a continuous process and just because she completed treatment and started The Chain doesn’t mean that fear isn’t a daily companion. The fears of imposter syndrome or relapsing are definitely present, but a breakthrough moment for her was when her biggest fear was realized. After years of working in fashion, so much of her identity was wrapped up a career in fashion and her status in that industry. After being let go, she didn’t have anything left to lose and after the dust settled, she was still there standing. Her self-worth was no longer attached to something external and outside of herself.
Nina completely understood those feelings. She admitted to feeling moments of fear of feeling her emotions and self-doubt. “Fear of loss or allowing yourself to love fully. Feeling of rejection or loving yourself completely.” However, her mentor’s mantra of “be kind to yourself” stands as a good antidote for when any of those emotions arise.
Also verbalizing these fears helps because to verbalize it is to normalize it and accept it to move beyond it.
We all struggle with loving ourselves. So, we asked our panelists to share some habits that help them with acceptance -
Larz admitted that crying helps and taking crying selfies - not only to commiserate that “sh*t is hard”, but also to reflect back upon that everything is temporary. And this feeling too will pass.
Power poses. Scientifically proven that they work.
Nina said that for her, it is “making space for herself.” It’s in her nature to work, work, work, but it is important to “make space for herself to cry and feel because without realizing it, it’s so easy to keep moving, especially in New York.”
For Ruthie, it is surrounding herself with nature. “You don’t have to believe in God to know that there is something bigger than yourself.”
Remember, self-love is a practice and it isn’t a linear journey. There are times when you regress back to old patterns and times where you have big breakthroughs. It is as the saying goes - it’s not the destination, it’s the journey.