Here’s something that I want you to think about. Do you spend your time trying to fix yourself? Or do you spend it creating yourself? There’s a big energetic difference. And what I want you to know is that you are a masterpiece to be created, not a problem to be fixed. And that is what we’re talking about in today’s episode.
Welcome to the School of Self-Image, where personal development meets style. Here’s your hostess, master life coach Tonya Leigh.
My friends, I am so excited. And here’s why. I have had many messages on Instagram, via email, on Facebook from some of you who are on the fence about joining the School of Self-Image. You are intrigued. You are drawn to my work. You’ve listened to this podcast. But you’re not quite sure yet if the membership is for you.
So, I’ve decided to do something I’ve never done before. It is my lowest cost offer ever and it’s going to be a five-day workshop where you’re going to learn how to Live Like an Editor. During these five days, you’re going to get a real good sense of what my work is like and how it is different.
I definitely come from a creative angle. I am not about fixing yourself, which we’re going to talk about in this episode. I am all about creating yourself. I’m all about living your life lie an editor, just like Anna Wintour, and how she runs Vogue.
You see, editing your life is about making intentional choices every single day. And these creative choices are piling up to create the results of your life. Now, what often happens is that you’re making the same choices day in and day out, and you don’t’ even realize it, but it’s coming from the wrong energy and so many of you are trying to fix yourself versus living your life as a creative expression.
It’s a big energetic difference between the two. So, during this live five-day workshop, I am going to lead you through the exact same process that I used to create my life, and doing it through the lens of being an editor. You are going to discover how to look at your life through the lens of it being a masterpiece.
Which means you’re going to have to give up trying to fix yourself, trying to change from a place of lack and insecurity and fear and not enoughness, and really learn how to see the journey of personal development as a fun, creative process.
My team and I have been working diligently behind the scenes to create something new, fresh, and honestly, I’ve never seen this in the world of personal development, this unique way of creating your life on purpose from the inside out and the outside in. It is going to be so fun and I cannot wait to see you there.
So, to grab your seat, head over to schoolofselfimage.com/workshop. All the details are there and I cannot wait to see you for this live five-day workshop. Now, with that said, it’s a great segue into what I want to talk with you about today, which is creating your life versus fixing your life.
And the best way to know which energy to you are creating your life from is let’s take a look at your bookshelf. One of the exercises that I ask my clients to do within the membership is to do an edit of their bookshelf. When you look at your bookshelf, it’s a telltale sign of the energy in which you’re trying to make change.
If you find that your bookshelf is full of books that make you feel broken and make you feel like you need to fix yourself, then chances are that’s exactly what you’re doing. And it never ever works.
Years ago, I looked at my own bookshelf and all I could think about was if something happened to me and my family walked in and saw the books on my bookshelf, honestly, I would be horrified. Books like, How to Lose Belly Fat, Blast Your Belly Fat, or How to Be Happy, or How to Be More Productive.
It was all of these books that reminded me of how broken I thought I was. Every time I looked at my books, I felt this heaviness, this burden, this sense that I was not good enough that I wasn’t performing in my life like I thought I should. And the more I spiraled into the world of self-help, the more broken I felt.
It was never enough. I was trying to go harder, faster, be better, be bigger, be stronger. I was always trying to make myself better. And the more I strived for those things, the more broken I felt. And I know so many of you know exactly what I’m talking about. You can relate.
So, the question becomes, “Tonya, but there are things I want to achieve. There are things that I want to create. There are things that I want to experience. Aren’t we all here to get better?” And the answer is yes. I do believe we’re here to evolve and to grow and to be the best versions of ourselves.
But what matters is the energy in which you’re trying to do that. You see, when your reason for doing something is to try to change or fix yourself, it’s sending this signal to the universe that there’s something wrong with you, that you are the problem. And this is where self-image comes into the picture because however you see yourself is always going to be what you prove to be true about yourself.
So, even with our best intentions, we can subconsciously sabotage ourselves because we’re coming at our lives as if we’re not good enough, “So, let me try to get better.” But the underlying problem is you're thinking you're not good enough, that you're broken, that you need to fix yourself.
Here’s the thing. You’re not broken. In fact, you are a wonderful, beautiful, whole, amazing, dynamic individual that simply wants to be expressed. But when you think you’re broken, you’re really good at proving that true. When you think you are the problem, you start acting like the problem.
You’re constantly reinforcing the belief that you need to change or fix yourself because your actions align with that. Whatever we think about ourselves, we act accordingly. And so, you create this toxic cycle of trying to fix yourself, seeing yourself as broken, and then you subconsciously go out and do things to prove yourself true.
An example is all those years that I struggled with my weight. I walked around thinking, “I’m overweight. I’m fat. I’m never going to lose the weight. Something’s wrong with me.” And those thoughts would make me feel so heavy, so down, so burdened. And guess what I would do when I felt that way? I would go out and eat, proving myself true, “See, Tonya, you’ve got a weight problem. There’s something wrong with you.”
It’s a feedback loop that makes you feel terrible about yourself. But then your mind convinces you, “Hey, if you could just fix yourself then everything would be better.” But that’s the problem. The problem is believing that you need to be fixed.
Do you know what needs to be fixed? Your thinking and your self-image. That’s it. That’s the only thing that’s broken. You in and of yourself are perfectly whole and amazing. So, that’s when we get into creating yourself instead.
Because again, as I was saying earlier, I am all about growth. I am all about evolving. I’m all about having goals and striving to see what we’re capable of. Not because we’re not enough, but because we are. Because we have this one life, why not let’s see what’s possible. Why not create ourselves into the most magnificent versions of ourselves?
Because chances are, who you’re being today is not the person you would choose to be if you were given the choice, for many of us. But we believe it’s who we are and therefore we believe we’re the problem, and so we’re on this hunt to fix ourselves.
But when you stop and you accept that you’re not a problem and that you’re simply a human being having an incredible human experience, from that place, you can begin to create yourself from a place of love, from a place of excitement, from a place of possibility, from a place of wonder and awe. Such a big difference.
One of the questions that has really allowed me to live in this creative process, especially when it comes to myself is asking where the origins of my behaviors are coming from. If they’re coming from fear, if they’re coming from lack, if they’re coming from insecurity, chances are they are coming from a place of me thinking I need to be fixed.
And let me tell you all, I’ve done that many, many times. But when they come from a place of love and joy and excitement, that’s a place of creativity. That’s a place where we can make intentional choices out of self-love, out of self-acceptance, out of a place of excitement for our futures.
But we can easily fall into the addiction of fixing ourselves. I remember when I finally realized what I was doing, when I finally realized that, the more I tried to fix myself, the more broken I felt. And I decided, you know, I’m going to do this differently. And one of the first choices that I made was to give up dieting. I’m like, dieting is not working for me. It’s just this perpetual toxic cycle of beating myself up, overeating, then depriving myself, and then repeating the cycle all over again.
So, I remember when I decided that I was not going to diet anymore. I had this void. Who am I if I’m not trying to fix myself? I had become addicted for this constant striving to be the perfect person. And if it wasn’t around dieting, it was around something else. It was, like, never enough.
So, when I gave it up, there was this void. It was awkward and confusing and I literally didn’t know what to do. But as the saying goes, nature abhors a vacuum. Meaning that unfulfilled spaces go against the laws of nature and physics and that every space needs to be filled with something.
And so, I started to fill those spaces with things that excited me, things that felt light, things that felt better, things that felt fun, things that were part of my future, not my past. And little by little, what I realized I was doing is that I was no longer trying to fix myself, but I was creating myself instead. And things started to align and all of the things that I had strived to be and do and create started to just fall into place with so much more ease.
You see, this is where we get confused because, like all of you, I still have goals. I want to be the best version of myself. I want to see what’s possible. I want to live this one life boldly and audaciously. But I want to do it as a creative expression. Not because I’m not good enough. Not because I need things outside of myself to prove myself to others, but because I am good enough. And so are you.
Creating yourself is such a different energy. The best way for me to describe it is, it’s about accepting yourself as you are right now and using everything, your weaknesses, your so-called flaws and imperfections as well as your strengths and your perfection and your vision for what you want as your canvas.
And with that beautiful self-acceptance, you’re no longer fighting against yourself. It’s like you’re holding your own hand and saying, “Let’s go. Let’s see what we can do.” Not because we need to prove anything to anyone. Not because we’re not good enough. Not because we think life will be better over there. But because this is my creative expression, my life is my canvas. It is my masterpiece.
Creating yourself is about using everything for you, not against yourself. Fixing yourself keeps you stuck in the past. You keep recreating the same problems over and over because, again, you will always work subconsciously to prove to yourself what you believe to be true.
So what we often do, we have a thought about ourselves. Something along the lines of, “I’m broken.” And we try to take a lot of action to prove to ourselves otherwise. But the underlying issue is thinking that you’re broken. And so, no matter how hard you try, it’s like you’re white-knuckling it.
You’re trying so hard to prove to yourself that you’re not broken. But the underlying issue is you thinking that you’re broken. Are you with me? I hope so because this is so important. In fact, I was thinking, if I could teach you all anything, if I could give you one lesson, what would it be? And this is it. And it’s what makes my program so different.
Because when women come in, it’s about deprogramming their brain that they’re broken. And from that place it’s like, “Okay, what do you want to create? You’re already 100% worthy, 100% whole, 100% amazing, now what? What are we going to do?”
And that energetic shift, it’s crazy how things just start to fall into place for these women. They start to lose weight. They get job promotions. They attract the love of their lives. They start to declutter. They start to have space. They start to feel happier. They’re more confident. And it’s not because they are fixing themselves. Quite the opposite. They stop trying to fix themselves and they move into this creative energy.
When you are creating yourself, you’ll notice that you start to ask different questions. Instead of asking yourself, “What’s wrong with me?” You start to ask, “What’s right with me?” Instead of asking, “What do I no longer want?” You start asking, “What do I want? What’s the vision for my life?”
Instead of asking, “What do I need to fix about myself?” You start asking, “What’s great about myself? What do I want to experience?” And that moves you into this beautiful, creative energy where everything that you’ve been- trying so hard to achieve and to get and to be just naturally falls into place. And you realize it was there all along. But you could not see it because you were focused in the opposite direction. When you are trying to fix yourself, what you’re going to notice is that you have this heavy feeling most days.
You’re going to notice that you keep recreating the same problems. You may even find yourself saying things like, “I’m stuck. I’m confused.” And here’s a big telltale sign. You keep waiting. You keep putting things off. You keep telling yourself things like, “When I lose weight. When I have more money. When this, then that.” That’s a sign that you’re trying to fix yourself, so that you can then go out and live an extraordinary life.
But that’s not the way it works. Creating yourself really comes down to a few simple things. Number one is deciding what you want. And then it’s deciding who you need to become to create that thing. And then it’s about practicing embodying that version of you day in and day out.
And let me tell you, it’s going to be awkward because your brain’s going to try to tell you that that’s not who you are. Your brain’s going to try to tell you that you’re an imposter. Your brain’s going to try to tell you that you should just give up and go back to that version of you that was broken and needs to fix herself. But that is the work. That is the work of coming from your future, being that version of you that you keep putting on hold until you fix yourself.
Because what you’re going to discover is you were never broken, ever. That was just your brain’s way of keeping you safe. At least, that’s what your brain thinks. Because the brain is so afraid of you changing, even if that change is good. The brain doesn’t like unfamiliar. The brain doesn’t like getting out of its comfort zone.
So, even when it doesn’t serve you, the brain will try to keep you where you are. Not because the brain’s a bad organ. The brain is amazing. But the brain is scared. The brain doesn’t like change. But the creative process is risky. It’s scary. But it’s also exhilarating. And I’ve said this so many times; everything you want and don’t yet have is in that place of the unknown. So, why not play around with it? Why not step into it? Why not see what’s available to you? And it all comes down to this concept of creating yourself.
So, let’s go back to what I was talking about, the bookshelf. There was a moment where I just cleaned all of my books out. I didn’t like how they made me feel. I didn’t like the message that they were sending back to me. So, I got rid of all of those books.
And I started to think about the version of me that I wanted to be. I saw the version of me who travels, who’s well-read, who was worldly. I saw the version of me who was bold and who loved beautiful things and who just was enjoying her life. And I asked, what does she read? What’s on her bookshelf?
And let me tell you what wasn’t there; diet books, how-to-be-happy books, because that version of me was already happy. And so, I started to fill my bookshelf with books that belonged in my future. And that act alone was part of the creative process of me making choices from the version of myself that I wanted to be, not the version of myself that thought I was broken. And that is the secret, my friends.
I want you to imagine the woman you want to be. Because you are her. But there’s probably just a lot of limiting beliefs and stuff that needs to be cleaned out so you can see her, so you can feel her, so you can experience her. And you will never, ever experience her as long as you’re trying to fix yourself. Because think of it this way. That version of you doesn’t need to be fixed. So, in order to become her, you have to start doing things like her.
She’s not trying to fix herself. What is she doing? I imagine she’s taking risk. She’s taking action. She’s loving herself through the process. She’s probably making mistakes. She’s probably failing. And she knows that’s all part of the process. And she does not use that as a reason to believe that she’s broken.
She just knows that that is the creative process. She’s willing to make mistakes. She has her own back and she’s having fun in the process. And ironically, the more fun she has, the better her life gets. This is what I want for each of you to experience the shift from trying to fix yourself to creating yourself.
Now, some of you may be listening to this and it may be a little confusing because I guess you could say I am in the self-help industry. I am in the personal development space. But I want to help you create yourself.
I want to support you in developing yourself from a place of love and acceptance and fun and joy because I know that that is the path to everything that you want. So, if you want to experience what this shift is like, if you want to have a taste of what it is like to change from a place of joy and fun and creativity, I want you to come join me for the Live Like an Editor workshop.
I cannot wait to share the strategies and exercises and tools to support you in creating your life and finally stop trying to fix yourself. Because you are not broken. You are not broken. You are an extraordinary human being who is just waiting to be self-expressed. Let’s do this. Head over to schoolofselfimage.com/workshop and I cannot wait to see you. And we start on September 27th. Have a beautiful, beautiful day, my friends. And I will see you in next week’s episode. Cheers.
Hey, have you grabbed your free copy of the School of Self-Image Manifesto? If not, what in the world? Head over to schoolofselfimage.com/manifesto and get a copy that teaches you how to think and show up in the areas of mindset, style, and surroundings so that you can transform your self-image.