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Embracing Me: A Journey to Self-Love and Empowerment

My life now isn't what it used to be. When I look back and reflect on my early twenties, all I think about is damn, how did I get through that? I don't think anybody ever goes through life wanting it to be hard or complicated. It sort of just happens. And when you are in the midst of it, you think that you'll never get out of it. Or at least, I thought I'd never get out of it. Have you ever felt that way?


This is Me. Mary Ann Francis LMFT


Hey. Let me introduce myself. My name is Mary Ann. I own a Talk Therapy and Wellness Retreat called Transforming Hearts PLLC, licensed in Connecticut and North Carolina. One of the services I provide is called UNA-pologetically® The Self-Love Movement. It's a platform I created for women who may be on their path to self-love and discovery. As a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist I help women dive into their self-love journey with workshops, tips, tools, and retreats. This has been such an inspirational journey, but I'll tell you it wasn't easy to get to where I am.


The Back Story


Here's a little of my back story. And just know, that there will be bits and pieces of my story throughout my blogs while I will also provide tips and things to think about in hopes it may help you on your journey.  What I have learned even during therapy sessions with women, is that although we are resilient against so many things, we can also get in our own way when it comes to ourselves.  We truly are our biggest critics. 


In my teens, I don’t remember criticizing myself as much.  I considered myself more of a tom-boy.  I played sports, hung out after school with the guys to play basketball until the sun went down.  I was happy.  Then entering my second year of college, I found out I was pregnant.  At that time, I was just 18.  Scared, a bit of shame, upset with myself, and yes – I freaked out.  My boyfriend at the time, who was a couple of years older than me, didn’t seem to be worried.  In fact, it seemed he was happy about it.  But I did what I had to do, and let my parents know.  That didn’t go so well.  I understand it now, as my parents’ projection of their own worries and fears of not finishing school and making something out of myself.  I was set to be the first in my immediate family to graduate from college.  Fast forward – 2 years after that I finished college, and on-time. 


I gave birth to my daughter when I was 19.  My relationship with my boyfriend at the time was going well – or so I thought.  I never realized until afterwards that some things just aren’t okay, and in fact are toxic, unhealthy behaviors.  But as a young mother, and still a teen trying to figure out my own life, I didn’t know what unhealthy behaviors were.  It wasn’t until we broke up when I was 21 that I realized there were some things that were not okay, but yet parts of me wanted to keep the “little family” going.  Simply because I didn’t want my child to have a “broken home.” 


If you are still with me – can you relate to this in any way? 


Well listen, it took me some time to understand the dynamics and what exactly was going on.  And honestly, I didn’t realize until I was about 25 that I was embracing the self-love journey.  Ages 21-25 was pure chaos in having to go through custody and visitation.  Things that I experienced made no sense if people could just make it about the child.  Then I realized, hurt people do hurt people.  If you are dealing with someone who hasn’t been working on their own past traumas; chances are they will surface.  And sometimes in the most horrific way.  But I can tell you this.  I made it through.  I embraced boundaries, advocacy, determination, putting myself first and all the above regarding self-love.  It was the best choice I made for not only myself, but for my daughter. 


Are you making that choice for yourself? 


Thank you for joining me on this journey of self-love, and empowerment. If you found the post valuable, I encourage you to share it with someone who might benefit from its message. I would love to hear about your own journey with self-love as I continue to share mine, along with some useful tips. Remember, you deserve to prioritize your well-being. Start your self-love journey today.

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