Learning to Love Myself

Baby steps. It’s taken years to even get to where I am, but still it’s inch by inch, crawling away.

Now I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t blame myself for the choices I’ve made and the mistakes and complications that often follow.

I’ve always felt like there were moments in my life where I could have done something differently and things would have turned out better, or I’d be in a better place right now. If only things had been different—if only I hadn’t invested in my own production company in college with my then close friends, if I hadn’t set out with something to prove on my first big film set and injured my back out of silly pride, if I’d stuck with one of my various diets while I was in high school, if I’d taken care of myself rather than abusing my body…if and if and if, never ending.

These thoughts, and other sometimes-darker ones, plagued me; eating me up from the inside, making me regret, making me feel like I was nothing but a screw up, a failure, a loser.

In my last year of college, my confidence took a large blow and these negative thoughts were stronger than ever. The company I started and invested so much time and effort in had fallen apart around me, the relationship I had for over two years went with it. My living situation was uncertain and my anxiety and depression had returned with a vengeance. I was having a hard time getting through my last semester, I lost my job because I was so distracted by my troubles and I had more or less decided that my life was not meant to be one filled with joy and success, that I was destined to be a miserable person. As ridiculous and over-dramatic as it seems now, I was at a place where I truly believed my natural state was that of an unhappy individual; I was fated to force smiles and pretend I was all right for the rest of my days.

It was around this time that my mother had a fortuitous encounter. She happened to meet a woman by chance while she was having dinner at a restaurant in Evanston. I’m not 100% certain on how the conversation between tables started, the important thing is my mother learned this woman’s name and profession: Cari Jacobson, or Dr. Cari, to be exact. She was a holistic healer and chiropractor with a practice outside of Chicago called, Be Optimal. For whatever reason, my mom was fascinated by Dr. Cari’s way of healing (maybe subconsciously she was thinking of me), and she promised to stop by her holistic center.

That night my mom shared her story with me brimming with excitement. She thought Dr. Cari was such an interesting person; she couldn’t wait to visit Be Optimal and take me along. I was skeptical—at that point I didn’t even want to try and heal. Despite my wishes, she dragged me to this healing center practically kicking and screaming. I was determined Dr. Cari wouldn’t be able to help me, and for whatever reason, I was furious that I had been brought there. I wasn’t ready to look at the state of my life because it was strangely safe inside my bubble of depression.

But by the end of that first session (Dr. Cari believes in the mind-body connection by incorporating emotional healing techniques with her chiropractic manipulations) my anger had left me, and I was suddenly open to change. It was like I had taken a 180-degree turn and all it took were a little push and little bit of kind understanding.

I saw Dr. Cari for over a year. In that time many things began to change in my life. I realized all those negative thoughts, all those feelings of inadequacy were just “monkey chatter” as she liked to call it. I was not born to be a miserable, depressed person—my true state (and everyone’s true state) is one of unconditional love and light. I came to realize that all those decisions that I’d felt were wrong, the mistakes I had made that created bumps in the road and led me down different paths were meant to be. Every step I had taken was a step in the right direction—even when it seemed to been a misstep. There was something to learn from it all, and they had made me a stronger person.

I was not a screw up. I was not a failure. I was a young woman figuring out life and realizing there was more to be joyful and thankful for than not. Dr. Cari was an amazing support and her teachings enlightened me more than I ever could have imagined. It was not an overnight transition, it took a lot of work, self-reflection and re-wiring the way I thought about myself, and it is something that I’m continuing to move towards. But it continues to amaze me how far I’ve come in just a few years.

I am incredibly thankful for my new lease on life. After years of suffering from depression, I was finally able to find a therapy—a philosophy—that allowed me to transform myself. Like I said, my journey is not over, but it is one I’m glad to be on, and I can’t wait to see what lies just down the road.






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