• Lee Ann

My Story

Updated: Aug 1, 2019

Where do I even start? You’re probably wondering, “Lee Ann, what qualifies you to teach me anything about self-love?” So I’ll start there. It’s a good question.

The answer: Nothing. Or is it everything?

For starters, (if you stick around you’re going to hear me say this a lot) self-love is a journey that is unique to each individual. So that means YOU are the MOST qualified person when it comes to finding the best ways to love you. And it also means each of our stories is totally unique, so we all have a lot to learn from one another if we stay open.

What I can offer you is the knowledge and strategies I’ve learned through my formal education combined with the important, often painful lessons I’ve learned through my own life experiences. My guess is that some of these strategies are going to work for you too! And some won’t. That’s totally fine too.

My goal is to give you ideas and suggestions that will help you find those ways that work best for you. I’ll be your guide, not your guru. We can kick off our shoes and walk this path of deep self-love while holding hands, and if you want, we can wear flower crowns too. (You know you want to).

I’ve ALWAYS been interested in people. I’m a total people watcher. You'll never catch me being the center of attention. I’m an introverted observer. And also a huge nerd. I love learning about cognition, behavior, emotions, and brain science. I have degrees in Psychology, Applied Behavior Analysis, and Education. I take classes constantly because learning is something that stokes my fire!

I've also always had a deep calling to help others. I have worked as an outpatient counselor for children and teens who suffered sexual abuse and/or trauma, as a residents' rights advocate at a huge state run mental hospital, as a mobile therapist for families needing extra in-home support for their child with mental illness, as a behavior specialist for children with behavioral and Autism Spectrum challenges, and also as a job coach for intellectually disabled adults.

But none of my previous positions ever truly FILLED me. I never felt I was reaching my purpose. Don’t get me wrong, I felt privileged and grateful to be helping my clients and making a difference in their lives, but it wasn’t quite lighting my soul on fire. Ya feel?

Now, maybe you can already tell this, but I’m also a REALLY intuitive person. You might think I’m a little woo-woo or “out there” (but really I’m IN there). I’ll be the first to tell you, my internal emotional and spiritual life is RICH and vibrant and sometimes a bit...well, downright cray. (In the past 5 years I’ve learned to really harness and embrace that craziness, but that’s a-whole-nother story).

I’m highly sensitive and very empathic. I used to view this as a weakness, but now it’s just another thing I LOVE about myself, and absolutely one of my greatest strengths. If you took that away, I just wouldn’t be me. Period.

So, I’ve always had this calling to help others, this attraction to the cognitive-behavioral sciences, and this deep emotional and spiritual ocean within me, but teaching other people about Self Love just wasn’t even on my radar. Why? Because I LOATHED myself. I never liked the person I was. I constantly wanted to look like someone else, feel like someone else, BE someone else.

This feeling of never being enough led me to believe that body modification would bring me the confidence and love for myself that I lacked. Societal pressure makes us all subconsciously strive for physical perfection and when we don’t fit the mold of what society deems beautiful we feel as if something is wrong with us.

So, at 19 I had breast augmentation surgery. Yeah, 19. NINETEEN. Know any 19 year olds? Do they make sound decisions? If they do, that’s awesome, but I wasn’t in that club. Let me give you a great big example: less than 3 years before deciding breast implants would make me complete I was hospitalized for attempting suicide (we’ll talk about this more in the future), so I probably shouldn’t have been making choices about cutting my body open and stuffing giant toxic balloons inside with the expectation that all of my problems and insecurities would vanish. Ya know?

But, let me turn it down just a notch and say, I honestly feel that at 19 I was not in a position to make that lofty of a decision. I was incapable of fully understanding the consequences even if someone would have explained them to me (but no one did). The prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain we use for rational decision making, is not even fully developed until around age 25 (there’s some of that nerdy brain science for ya), and that’s why teens make crappy decisions at a higher frequency than adults.

I’ll give you a quick summary of how that big-double-D-sized decision worked out for me: at first the implants DID give me some added confidence, but it was suuuuuper misdirected (think “Girls Gone Wild”), because I STILL DIDN’T LOVE MYSELF. Duh, right? Then the novelty wore off and that new confidence was gone, but my health had also gone with it. Over the next 13 years I would go on to develop dozens of unexplained symptoms that affected my quality of life so severely that at times I felt suicidal...again.

8 years after my breast aug surgery I (finally) realized the implants were making me sick (by setting off a constant heightened immune response), and something in me shifted. At first I was angry with myself that it was my fault - the way I felt about myself, the lack of love I had for myself, was the reason I was so sick. But once I moved on from the anger I knew I HAD TO MAKE CHANGES. I knew from that day forward I needed to treat my body with only LOVE. But that was a COLOSSAL shift from the way I had been living, so I began making small little changes that over time have compounded into HUGE shifts in the way I treat and feel about myself.

Those small changes are the strategies I want to share with you. A lot of them are really simple. Like, ridiculously simple. A lot of them are totally free. Most of them are easily implemented for EVERYBODY. At times it’s almost as if the answer is too obvious. We've all heard to "eat healthy," "use food as medicine," "move your body," "TREAT YOURSELF WITH LOVE" - but we overlook these strategies or devalue them due to their simplicity. They don't really sound like miracle cures... But trust that sometimes there is immense wisdom, power, and beauty in simplicity, so if you’re struggling, it's time to give these things a real shot, and I bet you won’t be disappointed.

That being said, just because something is simple doesn’t mean it’s easy. Making lasting changes is always going to be hard, but it will get easier as you build momentum and it will be worth it. That’s the reason I created Self Love and Soul Shine - so we can embark on this journey together. When you have someone else walking beside you, someone who's been walking this path for awhile, the going doesn’t seem as rough. You can put your trust in me that I know what lies ahead. And trust me when I say it's beautiful. Along the way we can inspire one another, motivate one another, help one another, teach one another, learn from one another... just CONNECT with one another.

So let’s join hands, let’s learn what it means to be STRONG, INTUITIVE, LOVING, WOMEN in a world where Logical Man reigns supreme. Let’s start a revolution of feminine confidence and learn to love ourselves WHOLLY and UNAPOLOGETICALLY because WE ARE WORTHY. WE ARE ENOUGH. Exactly as we are. And we always have been.

I’m in the process of developing several courses that will be designed specifically to inspire women to love themselves wholly and to more deeply connect with their Divine Feminine Essence. For updates on the availability of courses Click Here! I am so excited to embark on this journey with you!

xoxo, Lee Ann

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© 2019 by Lee Ann Coldsmith, Self Love and Soul Shine. 

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