As the founder of the cardio dance boutique studio, ((305)) fitness, Sadie Kurzban helps a lot of women access their inner Beyonce. Getting your sweat on while busting out your best dance moves in front of a mirror is one heck of a way to get fit, amp up your confidence and tap into your sexy side. The class is high energy, mood-boosting and the live DJ makes it the farthest thing from monotonous. So, as a peddler of not just a good workout but plenty of(self-directed) good vibes, I was curious to hear what Kurzban thinks about the whole “love yourself” phenomenon and what she does when she realizes she needs to boost her own self-appreciation.
A: Self-love is simple but it’s not easy. The simple part is: I treat myself with the same kindness and respect that I would a best friend. It starts with the basic idea that I love myself and that my relationship with myself is the most important one of my life, so I better nurture it with more tenderness and care than any other relationship.
What this means is: When I am going through some difficult emotion, rather than judge myself for it, I take it into my arms like I’d take a sweet child. I recognize the feeling, I give it a name, and then I invite it to come sit with me. It’s a technique I learned from the brilliant Tara Brach. (I highly recommend her book.)
People imagine self-love and they picture some happy-go-lucky person who is skipping through Whole Foods and she has perky breasts and loves kombucha and her dog and is practically high fiving herself everywhere she goes. To me, this isn’t self-love. This is happiness, which is one part, but not all of our experience. We are human beings. We have many emotions and feelings and thoughts. Some of them are happy, some are disturbing, some are sad, some are anxious. Self-love means that we pay attention to and nurture all of these feelings by making room for all of it.
So let’s say I get rejected. What do I do? Do I say: “I’m the worst! I suck. I always get rejected”? No. I say: “I’m feeling lonely. I’m feeling scared I’m going to be alone forever.” Then I take these feelings and I say: “C’mon, loneliness. C’mon, fear. You are part of me, too. Come and sit right here, right on mama’s lap. Let me hug you.” And I take care of myself and love myself, as hard as I would love a best friend.
I was hard on myself. Growing up, my mom and older sister had eating disorders. I was raised in Miami, a very looks-conscious place that teaches women they are valued primarily on their looks and most especially on their bodies. I was obsessed with fitness from an early age because it was a way to purge. I thought that by controlling my body, I could control my future. It’s funny, though. Fitness, which is what I used mostly as a way to hate myself, became my savior. It taught me how to love myself. It allowed me to see the limitless potential I had. Not because of how my body looked, but because of what it could do for me. It was resilient! It could grow with me. It gave me warning signs when I was sick. It provided me with stress release. It could dance up a storm. It could learn new moves. It ran faster and faster. I learned to appreciate my body as a vessel, as a tool for me to accomplish everything else I want out of life. And now, fitness is my platform, from where I can speak to tens of thousands of people and help them learn to love themselves a little more each day.
A: First of all, I wake up early every morning and I spend quality time with myself. I love the peace and quiet. My mind is most clear then. The morning time is quality time with myself. I make myself a tea, I stretch, I read the news, I take a hot shower. It’s like I take myself on a date every morning. If I have man-friend sleeping over, well, I still wake up early and do it while he’s sleeping. It’s non-negotiable time for me.
Secondly, I write in a journal every day. I’ve been doing this since I was in 3rd grade. It’s an incredibly simple but profound practice. Let me put it this way: it’s FREE therapy and it’s the best kind out there! No one knows me better than me and journaling helps me map it all out there. I notice that when I’m feeling off balance and anxious, it’s because I’ve neglected to journal. It’s the days I think “I have nothing to write” that I, in fact, have a ton of deep feelings, worries, and emotions. Writing for 10 minutes forces me to unpack subconscious worries, face the music and be really honest with myself. It’s been a life saver. I highly recommend it!