Three years ago I was a college senior and a newlywed. I had a picture perfect life. I was vibrant and confident and knew who I was.  At least from the outside it seemed that way. If someone had peeked into my soul, what they would have really seen was fear, unworthiness, and a deep sense of shame, not for what I had done in my past, but literally for who I was.

If you had spent 5 minutes with me you may have left thinking I was funny, honest, and bold for being so sincerely myself. If you spent a few days with me you would realize that I was ashamed of my personality and was living with a lot of social anxiety.

June 2011 working with a church in mexico,  living in need of approval and deep shame for my personality

June 2011 working with a church in mexico,  living in need of approval and deep shame for my personality

I used vulnerability to keep people from knowing who I really was. By being overly open about my life and my "issues" I would keep people at an emotional distance. I used religion to feel like I had finally achieved a sense of peace and order in my life. I belonged, I was living the "right" way, I had approval through my good actions.  I used relationships to fill the deep sense of unworthiness by collecting many acquaintances but no deep friendships. 

 "If they laugh I am enough. If they think I am amazing, I am enough. If they think I'm pretty I am enough. If they think I'm interesting, smart, talented, I am enough.”

Scary, right?! I was living through other's opinions of myself. And if someone had a wavering opinion of me, I crumbled. I did not know how to be confident in my own skin. I was certainly not proud of who I was. 

December 2013, graduating college with no plans, afraid of my future, and struggling to find my voice

December 2013, graduating college with no plans, afraid of my future, and struggling to find my voice

I share this with you because I know that my story, although unique in many ways, is not unique in the struggles.  Many of you, too, are overcoming the same fears, shame, and pain.  I want you to know you can overcome. I want you to know you can truly thrive.

Today I am still funny, vulnerable, and bold. It is the real, authentic me, and I am owning it. But, something changed in me the past 3 years that is obvious to anyone who knows me.

The frantic anxiety leaving the house to go to an event has if not completely gone away, almost never happens. The people who I felt the deepest shame around no longer have a strong place in my inner circle, and I am stronger than I ever have been. I am healthier in my marriage and I have healthy boundaries.  Plus as a bonus, I actually love people, and have given up controlling them and judging them.

I still struggle like any normal human, but I want to share my journey with you. It can be easy to assume the road was easy, or that there wasn't a road at all. But the road was freaking hard. It meant facing who I was. What I was doing to hide who I was, and learning for the first time to be truly vulnerable with the people I could trust most. It meant overhauling friend groups and forgiving my parents. It meant forgiving myself and forgiving God. It meant letting go of the religious legalism that kept me safe and embracing the uncertainty in my faith journey.

June 2015 in nyc for the beautiful you life coaching inspiration day. healthy, passionate, confident. 

June 2015 in nyc for the beautiful you life coaching inspiration day. healthy, passionate, confident. 

It means moving forward. It means deciding who you want to be and taking action steps to get there. I went into 2014 with the mantra, "this is a year of freedom." And it was. I continue that tradition every year and revise my goals with my life coach quarterly. Today, set yourself an intention for this upcoming year. You don't have to wait until January! Do it today.

Who do you want to be in one year?

How do you want to feel every day?

What isn't working?

What needs to shift to make room for this vision?

Ask yourself these questions and really dig deep. Life is a gift, but it is yours to cultivate. Get to it my love. All that is waiting is your YES.

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! Leave a comment below or share on Facebook.

You never know who needs to hear your story of strength.

How I Satisfied My Need for Approval

How I satisfied my need for approval through self love, plus 10 affirmations to help you find self acceptance.

Self love. Self approval.  They are possibly the the biggest trends in personal wellness right now. When I was first introduced to the idea of self love, I wanted to reject it. It felt prideful and self indulgent.  I thought (in hindsight), that I was better and tougher than needing to love myself. I have learned since then that self love is a necessity to thriving as a healthy, whole person.  The shift for me did not come all at once, but one way of thinking truly helped me stop seeing it as indulgence and start seeing it as necessary.


It was the shift from self love and approval to self acceptance.

One of the biggest struggles I have faced in my personal growth is a deep need for the approval of others.  In a life coaching session with my first life coach, I realized not only did I tend to seek approval from others, but I wasn’t even comfortable with the thought of loving and approving of myself. It was quite obvious that the reason I so deeply sought approval from others was because I refused to approve of myself. The word approval made me feel like I had to do something to earn it. I felt that if I approved of myself then I must think really highly of myself and must think I have “arrived” so to speak.  My coach was amazing at helping me see a new perspective and asked me if I knew of another word for approval that I may be more comfortable with.


As I spoke it out loud I felt my spirit shift. It was a huge “ah-ha” moment for me. Acceptance of myself felt more gentle. It came with peace and ease. The definition of the word refers to welcoming, having favor for, or receiving what is offered. (  

Self acceptance gives room for the real you. It does not base your self love on whether or not you feel worthy.  It is not complacent.


You are enough today. In this moment. As you are. This is your journey. Your path. Your body. Your mind. I promise you, when you make peace with who you truly are you will no longer desire the approval of others.

Here are 10 affirmations to shift your thinking to acceptance:

  1. I  accept myself just as I am.

  2. I am open to love.

  3. I am worthy of good things.

  4. I trust that there is a divine plan for my life.

  5. I am happy in my own skin.

  6. My body is a blessing.

  7. I am able.

  8. I attract love and give love freely.

  9. I honor myself with my thoughts.

  10. I only compare myself to my best self.


Let's get the convo going!

leave a comment with your story below & how self acceptance changes your self love game.

+++feel free to share this truth-bomb on insta, facebook, pinterest, or print it out for your bathroom mirror!

xx, Madison