Show your Spark, we believe that every woman deserves to be celebrated. That’s why we created our Signature Spark Sessions, empowering portrait experiences that help women press pause on life and celebrate themselves through photography.
A day in the Show Your Spark studio is a day of celebration. It is a day for you to be YOU, to take up space, and to see yourself through new eyes.
Extending this mission beyond our doors, we recently spoke with Kerri Lewis, a life and business coach, about how you can celebrate yourself every day.
This conversation will have you rethinking what you previously thought about self-care and self-celebration. She spoke about why celebrating yourself every day is important and what it can look like for you.
Like Energies Attract
Lindsay and Kerri first met at a Kick It by Eliza event. Having similar philosophies in life, the two hit it off immediately.
Kerri now serves as a business coach and confidant to Lindsay Hite and the entire Show Your Spark team. She provides us with encouragement, insights, and tough love. Her approach is kind yet bold, intuitive, and focused.
We are excited to introduce her to our community today.
Holding Space For Others
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your journey, your work, and how you came into the work you do today.
I hold space for people who are learning to know and care for themselves independent of the narratives and societal standards they’ve been raised in and exposed to.
I am passionate about my work because of my own personal journey. I’ve overcome a tremendous amount of limiting beliefs myself, struggles with addiction, and different forms of abuse. As a result, I learned that breaking free from what we think we need to be and discovering who we really are is the only way to live a joyful and fully expressed life. That journey is so individualistic. For me, it was important to have somebody hold space for me through that process. This kind of work can be really scary. Now I have the privilege and honor to hold space for others doing their own work.
How to Celebrate Yourself
We invited you to speak with us about one of your favorite topics, Learning How to Celebrate Yourself. What does that mean to celebrate yourself?
That is such a moment-by-moment choice. It can come in the form of both self-care and positive self-talk but will look different for everyone at different times. I’ll give a few examples.
For me personally, it can be as simple as taking a sip of water when I am in a state of anxiety. By making that choice, I’m both honoring and nurturing my body. More importantly, I’m recognizing that I am in need of some kind of care. Providing my body with support when it needs it is one way I can celebrate myself.
Another act of self-celebrating can be honoring a structured bedtime to ensure that you get the adequate sleep you need. Sleep is so incredibly important for your mental and physical health and impacts how you are able to handle everyday challenges.
Finally, I often talk about the need to celebrate ourselves mentally and verbally. You can do this by taking moments to affirm yourself and encourage yourself as you would a friend. For example, “That was really hard. I’m incredibly proud that I just went through that. Even though it was scary, and I had no desire to show up and go for a walk, I knew that I needed to move my body. I’m really proud of myself because even though it didn’t feel great in the beginning I was able to do that.”
The Science of Celebration
Why is it important to celebrate yourself?
The short answer is science.
In our DNA, we are inherently wired to think negatively. Looking for threats and danger protected humanity in a time when we needed to fight for basic needs and survival. Unfortunately, our brain has not caught up with the fact that we are no longer in constant fight or flight mode.
This means, now we have to make conscious choices to think positively and look for the good. There’s a saying, “Things that fire together; wire together.” Essentially, how we speak to and about ourselves changes the way in which we view the world and the way our brains actually work. This is the science of neuroplasticity.
Science also speaks to the fact that we and everything around us are an expression of energy. “What you think; you attract.” For this reason, if you want to bring positivity into your life, it’s really important to be able to celebrate yourself and feel good about yourself, despite whatever narrative you’ve grown up with.
Self-Care and Positive Affirmations
So, does celebrating yourself manifest in two forms; positive affirmations and self-care?
Self-care is such an important topic. I want to dispel an important myth about it.
If self-care becomes work, it’s not self-care.
I think there’s this huge narrative right now that says, “I have to do yoga, drink my water, journal, and do the things.” But, as soon as it becomes another thing you have to do, you just took away the piece of self-care.
Self-care is great as long as it is truly something that feels really good, nurturing, and nourishing to you. For example, self-care can look like taking a breath in and out while sitting at the kitchen counter surrounded by two yelling teenage girls. That simple act is self-care. In that breath you chose positivity.
Mentally and verbally affirming yourself is absolutely critical to experiencing a more joyful life. One tip to help you move into self-affirmations is to keep visual reminders around your home. The reminders help ground you when you might be in a heightened state of anxiety and not able to think clearly and affirm yourself. Seeing the visual gives you the opportunity to pause the negative thoughts, even for a second, and then make a different choice. As Sarah Gaines said to this community once, “Your superpower is what you choose to do when you realize you have another choice.” Visuals help cue that other choice.
Asking For Help
So, there’s no shame in asking for help, even if it’s from ourselves to prepare for future moments?
Yes, there is no shame. We often get into the trap of thinking we have to do this hard work all on our own. But the reality is, that you don’t. There’s always somebody who’s walked that path before you who would be more than helpful to take you by the bootstraps and push you along in those moments. When you want to give up, think of asking for help as one of the ultimate forms of self-care and self-celebrations, because you’re telling yourself, “I don’t have to know all the answers.” Your belief that you matter enough to ask for help is worthy of celebration!
What do you say when you hear objections from people saying they don’t deserve to be celebrated or that it is wrong to celebrate themselves?
I just read a statistic that states that 85% of the human population, across the world, operates from a place of deep fear. So, instead of countering their objections, I just continuously plant seeds. Sometimes I’ve nurtured and supported people for a couple of years before they could even start to consider celebrating themselves. I don’t judge them, because I get it. As a former active alcoholic and somebody who was in an abusive relationship for more than five years, I understand how beat-down people can get. People can get so low that the mere thought of celebrating themselves creates a visceral physical reaction. So when I’m working with clients like that, I allow them to move at their pace.
If you are one of those who struggles with the idea of self-celebration, my suggestion is to sit with that feeling and ask yourself why you can’t celebrate yourself. Then allow what comes up to come up. The reality is, there’s probably a lot of pain and energy repressed in your body. Until that’s released, you’re going to have a very visceral reaction to trying to celebrate yourself. The first step might be to sit in the pain and celebrate yourself for sitting in the pain. Eventually, you will get to a place where you are resilient, able to hear powerful words of affirmation and start to see yourself in a different light.
New Practices to Celebrate Yourself
From what you are saying, it sounds like learning to celebrate yourself requires self-knowledge and self-trust. For those who have been disconnected from these traits, how does one begin to implement these ideas of self-celebration?
The most powerful tool you have for discovering yourself is the breath because it is life-sustaining. Whether you’re spiritual or you simply believe in science, taking that breath will take you out of your thinking mind, even if for half a second. That time will connect you with yourself and with the world around you.
- Take in a really deep inhale.
- Then allow a slow exhale.
- Give yourself permission to examine yourself as you exhale.
- As the questions: What does my body feel like? What do I feel like at this moment?
- Observe. That’s all you need to do.
Breath is incredibly important. It’s life-sustaining, but it’s also going to help you tap into the understanding of yourself and all that you’ve been told you should and shouldn’t be. So many of us were punished for tapping into our intuition as children. I know I was! When that happened, we began to think that we were bad and that our instincts couldn’t be trusted. As we learn to come back to the breath and learn to trust it, we can learn to trust the rest of our intuition as well. The breath is what helped me discover who I am. I think it can help others as well.
No More “To-Do” Lists
So, what you are saying is that learning to celebrate yourself isn’t about a list of “to-dos”. It’s a way of being that requires stillness within ourselves to be able to hear our own thoughts and understand the messages of our body?
We often try to overcomplicate things. When you get down to it, self-celebration is very simplistic. It comes down to the breath and tapping into our intuition to know what we need at any given moment.
I do want to preface the fact that tapping into your breath can be so incredibly uncomfortable. Sometimes it can create an enormous amount of fear and anxiety, especially if this is a new practice for someone. I want anybody who’s reading this to understand that it’s okay if that is your experience.
When I first started getting quiet, I wanted to crawl out of my skin. I now understand that in those first uncomfortable moments, I was experiencing all the negative emotions that I had never really allowed myself to feel or express. That negative energy told me, “I’m still here. I didn’t go anywhere. You need to address me.”
It’s so important for people to understand that it is okay if they’re scared to move through it. It’s okay to feel gross. It’s okay if you know you’re completely out of your comfort zone. Trust that because in doing so, you are starting to release those emotions that have been keeping you stuck in that negative loop, preventing you from celebrating yourself, and preventing you from understanding your intrinsic value. Remember, if you are here, you add value to the world. You are meant to be here. Whatever that purpose is, even if it’s just to be here. You don’t have to be “anything” to still be worthy of being here.
Final Words of Encouragement
What encouragement can you give to those beginning this practice of celebrating themselves?
I want anyone reading this interview to know that I see you and you’re worthy of love, not just from external forces, but from yourself. When you show up and celebrate yourself, however, that looks, whether it’s through photography with Lindsay, writing your first memoir, or simply being with your child without expectation, then you are inherently opening up space for other people to love themselves. More importantly, you’re opening up space for other people to love you better.
Keep shining your light even when people try to dim it. It’s okay to stumble but keep getting up and shining because the world needs you.
Celebrate Yourself with Photography
If you enjoyed this conversation, please check out Kerri’s work! She offers one on one life and business coaching, as well as webinars and so much more!
If you are ready to take your celebration practices to the photography space, contact us to learn more about our Spark Sessions.