Growing Your Roots

Recently a dance student of mine asked me “How are you able to be such a strong woman?”

Hmmmm. Am I?

roots After pausing for a minute I shared with her some of the things that I struggle with:  lifelong food issues and body insecurity can still rear its ugly head; I often feel nervous around men and dating; and at times I can be self-involved.

But, I told her, I try to never let those problems shake my core belief in who I am. I DO believe that I am a kind, strong, and loving woman.

That got me thinking, how can we strengthen our belief in ourselves ~ to grow strong roots so that, like an old oak or maple tree, we can stay strongly rooted in self-acceptance and love even when life is stormy?

This has been a journey for me, one that I am certainly still on and will be lifelong. I have a very clear memory of lying in bed about 10 years ago and praying for change in my life. I was young, newly divorced, didn’t feel like I was good at my job or had a career or life plan. While I was laying there a question came to me: “Do I love myself?”

In that moment of being along with myself, I had a really hard time saying yes. I knew, intellectually, that I was smart, funny, caring and, most importantly, had a desire to be and do good in the world. But I really struggled with the idea. So I committed to being better – not in the world, but to myself. I committed to believing in myself, loving myself and being compassionate and forgiving with myself.

So, how’s that going? I would say pretty well about 90% of the time, and I think that’s a pretty good job.

Here are a few techniques that I have found help me feel good about myself:

  1. rosieHave Compassion.  When I am critical of others, of how they treat me or react, I find that I am equally critical and cruel to myself. When I am able to try to understand why someone acts a certain way (maybe they had a bad day, maybe they have a broken heart, etc), I am equally as compassionate to myself.
  2. Grant Second Chances.  You can’t do everything perfectly the first time. As a Scorpio, I often react instantly and, I admit, occasionally that reaction has a sting to it. But I try to allow myself a second chance. I am always willing to say “I’m Sorry” or “I was wrong.” Now, I am trying to not react as much, giving myself a five minute rule before reacting to things.
  3. Surround yourself with Positive Strength. I believe 100% that I am strong because I sought out strong, amazing women and men. I asked for mentorship, friendship and guidance.

I don’t believe that I am perfect, but I believe that I am good and strong and worthy. I also believe that about you. 

111201_LisaZ_53Lisa Zahiya is an award winning bellydance and hip hop performer, instructor and dance studio owner. Lisa  has her home base at Studio Zahiya in quirky Asheville, NC and travels nationally and internationally teaching and performing.

Winner of the 2008 Bellydancer of the Univer competition, Lisa’s unique style and fusion dance forms has gained her recognition in the International bellydance community. She travels, teaching workshops, performing and developing curriculum. She has developed a fusion dance curriculum for a dance school in San Raphael, France. She serves as guest faculty at Sahara Dance in Washington, DC.

At home, she is faculty at the University of North Carolina, Asheville, where she teaches bhangra, hip hop and bellydance. She also served as an Ambassador for Lululemon Athletica, Asheville.

She also loves shoes, gluten free cupcakes, silly dances and being an advocate for women and children.

Find out more about her at



  1. Gabrielle says

    Another spot on post. Thanks so much and I’m sorry if I came across as a creepy stalker today!!! (So great to meet you!)

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