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Unapologetically Me, Unapologetically You…

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IMG_3996Each Monday, Tiffany posts a message that provides positive energy and tips for eating more mindfully. The purpose of the weekly message is to reinforce the ideas from the talks and classes that are a part of the Como Water Membership, and to further support those living the veg-centric lifestyle. To receive our Mindfulness Mondays posts, Become A Member today.

Unapologetically Me, Unapologetically You…

Well folks, I have returned safely from Rwanda and I am happy to report that I have no, that’s right ZERO, travel scheduled for at least a month. Over the past couple of months, I’ve been rippin’ and runnin’, and right about now, all I can think about is savoring the peace and tranquility of my small apartment, and working on Como Water, of course :)…

Before I delve into to the theme of today’s Mindfulness Mondays post, let me do a wee bit of self-promotion :). I recently got a mindful eating post accepted on Tiny Buddha, a site that provides a platform for sharing stories on cultivating simple wisdom! Check it out … and spread the word!

Ok, now, today’s post… I absolutely love the title of today’s post, because it very simply represents a theme I think I’ve subconsciously battled for quite some time–being truly and completely, unapologetically me.

Now, I’m not talking self-hatred here. I actually really like myself and would even say that I have high self-esteem, self-confidence, and drive. I’m not talking about being unapologetically me in this sense. What I’m talking about is accepting and validating all parts of me, the whole me, not just the success, not just the traits that get validated from outsiders. For me, this manifests most poignantly in my closest relationships. Let me share a story to illustrate…

A friend and I had tentative, fuzzy plans to hang out one weekend. As fate would have it, we kept missing each other despite continually reaching out to each other. I was getting annoyed with the whole situation, and really wanted to just say, “why don’t we just connect another time.” But did I say this? Nope. I kept my feelings inside. I told myself that I was being petty, irritable, irrational, OCD. I told myself that not everyone plans as much as I do and that I shouldn’t expect others to be me. I told myself lots of other narratives that prevented me from saying what I actually felt. In short, I was not being unapologetically me.

I was accepting my friend for being unapologetically her, but I didn’t give myself the same level of acceptance and compassion. I was trying to justify away my own feelings as less valid, and this wasn’t the only time I did this. The truth is, I do this ALL the time, in most of my close relationships, and it was at the retreat–in a guided meditation session–that I was finally able to words to my pattern of thinking and behavior.

One of the sisters (nuns) at the monastery put it like this,

reverence for life isn’t just respecting the lives of others, animals, and the like. It’s about respecting your life. And you can’t fully respect your life when you deny parts of yourself. You can’t fully respect your life when you keep your feelings inside. No one else’s feelings are more valid than your feelings. Do you keep your feelings inside? Do you deny yourself? If so, then you are not fully loving yourself, and you cannot fully love others. You must start with yourself.

She wasn’t talking directly to me, but she spoke to me. Actually, she spoke to my soul. And her words mirrored a conversation with the same friend mentioned above, where seeds of this epiphany first began to sprout.

So now what? Well, I can tell you that validating my own feelings, and then actually EXPRESSING them on top of that is going to take practice! But when framed in this context–as a precursor for true reverence for life and fully loving myself–I feel very motivated to try, and have even started a mantra. I really do wholeheartedly attempt to accept others as they unapologetically are. Now, it’s time to do the same for my feelings.

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Tiffany M. Griffin is the woman behind Como Water, Washington DC’s premiere veg-centric cuisine consulting company. Through cooking classes, demonstrations, catering, and consultations, Como Water gives people the opportunity to learn how to prepare veg-centric cuisine that boasts maximum flavor, with minimal effort. Tiffany is quickly becoming a go-to expert on the future of veg-centric cuisine, and is a regular contributor to Como Water, the blog, as well as to vegetarian and vegan sites across the Internet. For over a decade, this self-taught, entrepreneurial expert has developed a set of tried and true techniques for making simple, delicious, and sometimes decadent veg-centric dishes. Featured on the Steve Harvey Show and other leading media outlets, Tiffany was born and raised in Springfield, MA. She then earned Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Communications from Boston College and a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan. She now resides in Washington DC, where she has worked in the US Senate and at a federal agency on issues around health, food, nutrition, and international food aid/development, and of course, as the owner of Como Water. Tiffany gets culinary inspiration from the food she grew up eating, and from her travels throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is dedicated to sharing her wealth of knowledge on veg-centric cuisine with others and to help others live by her mantra—love life, live long, and eat veg-centric cuisine!

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