Writing Your Own Love Story
I had a pretty deep, life-changing moment of personal reflection recently. So deep and so vulnerable that I needed to sit with it for a bit before I shared it with this community.
I knew I wanted to write it, though, because it was such a clear example of something I teach:
And I got that reminder from a place I never would’ve expected—a romance novel. 😂
If you did a double-take, I get it! Let me tell you the story…
One of my biggest internal tensions, something that’s caused me the most stress in building my business, is my presence on social media.
Because when you’re growing a business, almost all the experts will tell you…
You have to build your digital footprint if you’re going to be successful.
You have to use social media to connect to your community.
You have to keep expanding your online presence if you’re going to build your brand.
So the fact that I struggled so much with my social media presence created very real stress for the past eight years.
I kept wondering, Why is this such a roadblock for me?
I reflected on it a lot, and a few things came up for me...
One, I know that my human design is that I don’t like to force myself into spaces. I just don’t. That’s how I’m wired. I’d much prefer to be invited in, and posting on social media always felt a bit too much like pushing my way into people’s daily lives.
Two, it's super awkward patting myself on the back. You probably already know that, even if I’ve never said it directly before. I celebrate all of my accomplishments, but I prefer to do that privately. Posting about my latest talk or podcast interview on social media never felt natural to me.
Three, I like to be present in the moment. It’s one important way I practice mindfulness, which is so important for mental wellness. But it’s also my personal preference. When I’m baking with Caleb or reading a book or out enjoying the summer weather, I don’t want to disrupt the flow by stopping to take a picture and post it.
I’m savoring life moment-by-moment. I realize that some of that ties back to the trauma I experienced with my husband’s death; I have a deep appreciation for savoring life because I know it can be taken away in an instant.
I recognized all of this in myself, but I also saw my discomfort with social media as a growth opportunity. So I’ve spent years trying to reframe the way I thought about it.
I reminded myself that when someone follows me on social media, they ARE inviting me into their space. They clicked that follow button because they want to hear from me.
I reminded myself that posting about my wins on social media wasn’t about bragging. It was about sharing my joys.
I reminded myself that this wasn’t an all-or-nothing scenario. I could set healthy boundaries so that posting on social media didn’t keep me from being present in the moment.
I knew all of those things.
But I kept feeling like I was failing.
I could feel other invisible walls that were blocking me from really putting myself out there.
And then recently I got a huge dose of clarity, something that helped me connect the dots on why this tension lives inside of me, from a romance novel I was reading.
Yeap, from a romance novel.
Okay, let me take a pause there. Because maybe you just seriously side-eyed your screen.
Maybe you just thought, “Karen, romance novels? REALLY?”
Maybe you’re picturing glossy covers with Fabio as a half-naked cowboy carrying a damsel-in-distress.
From someone who used to think all of those same things, let me tell you, there’s so much more to romance novels.
I’ve been reading Talia Hibbert’s books recently, and man, they have totally changed how I appreciate love through storytelling.
Her books are about finding the person who sees through all of the labels other people have put on you. About loving someone who sees the real you. About trusting someone to know and love all of you.
They’re about our desire to be loved deeply—and how that’s connected to everything that makes us human.
In the book I was reading, one of the characters has a viral moment on IG that has the potential to bring some really positive attention to his nonprofit.
But it also triggers his trauma.
See, years earlier his brother and father had died unexpectedly. At the time, he was a professional athlete, someone who was in the public eye, so the news of their deaths was plastered all over the media. In the middle of this really dark time in his life, he couldn’t escape this intense spotlight.
Because of all that, he’d always avoided social media and cringed at unwanted attention.
So when he’s suddenly the focus of more media attention, even though it looks positive to everyone else, he’s taken straight back to the trauma he lived through years earlier.
Reading that character's story, I suddenly understood my own discomfort with sharing my life on social media in a whole new way…
When I showed up to the crime scene on the night Richard died, there were news vans everywhere. When I went home—still in shock, frozen and sick—reporters were knocking at my door, trying to get a statement. There were articles, some of them heinous and disgusting, all over the internet, written by people who knew nothing about my husband.
People from all over the world were reaching out, and I felt very exposed.
In my deepest and darkest pain, there was a spotlight on me.
And the connection I made reading this romance novel helped me understand that invisible wall that kept me from really leaning in to social media.
That trauma is still with me.
It’s part of why I’m so cautious about what I post on social media. It’s why I’m protective about what parts of my life I share online.
I had been struggling to find the balance between valuing my privacy and sharing with the world so that I can serve.
Reading about this character’s experiences helped me connect those experiences.
It also freed me.
It gave me permission to do what’s right for me.
The trauma I experienced created an imprint on me. For all these years, I saw it as a wall, something I needed to tear down.
Now I see it as just another part of what makes me who I am.
I don’t need to change it or fix it or overcome it.
I want you to hear that message too. Don’t waste your precious energy trying to force yourself into a mold that does not fit.
You will be blessed for embracing who you are. Because guess what? I run a six-figure business. I book numerous gigs per month. And I don’t have 100,000 followers.
So here’s my point, my dear:
If you do what’s right for you, in the end, it will always be okay.
The weight of the world will try to tell you that you have to live or work a certain way. It will try to convince you that you have to do things that may not feel true to you. I want you to see past that noise.
If you show up, if you make real connections, if you are truly passionate about your life’s work, whatever that is, live it.
Live it every single day.
When we are true to ourselves, everything else will come into alignment to support what we’re trying to bring into the world.
And when you commit to doing what’s right for you, you are freeing up space to self-reflect and understand who you really are and what you need. When you’re no longer fighting your own instincts, you can devote all of that energy to embracing your own heart instead.
That’s how you build a life that you love. You take the time to learn who you are and fully embrace the unique way you can play a part in this beautiful eco-system we lovingly call HUMANITY. And then you tell the world who you are by consistently choosing the path that’s right for you.
That’s how you write your own love story. By loving yourself enough to do what’s best for you and giving the rest of the world the opportunity to love who you truly are, too.
P.S. Speaking of life-changing books… In less than a month, Stop & Shift will finally be out in the world, and I can’t wait to teach you this method and show you how to let go of negative thoughts, renew your perspective, and build a strong, healthy mindset!