© 2019 by Nikki Carter, LLC.

Everyone has a journey.

Here's mine:

I used to be the kind of girl who could fall in love with anyone.  I absolutely loved love.  I loved getting inside each other’s secrets, inside the dark little corners of ourselves that we don’t share on social media.  The mundane lit me up.  I loved morning rituals of learning how to make each other’s coffee, finding “our” spots around the city, and the inside jokes where we could glance across a room with a half smile and we would just know.  I lived for the feeling of our two worlds coming together to create a brand new world for only us.  Our love was where we lived.  

It is thus, less than surprising that when these relationships ran their course, I was floored.  Every time.  Eventually, I would make my way back into my own life; sometimes it took months, sometimes much longer.  I learned to meet my grief as an old friend.  I welcomed the breakup to the table and poured it a drink.  I opened the door for the late night sobs and let them do their work.  I learned my rituals of recovery and how to put one foot in front of the other, no matter how tiny my steps.  With time, I took my long walk to recovery just a little more swiftly each time. 

By the time I was in my early 30s, I was old enough to know what I didn’t know.  I knew big, whole, all-encompassing love.  But I didn’t know how to grow it, or why it kept collapsing.  I knew how to do my self-work but I still didn’t know how to make my life into the vision of my future that I aspired to.  And so, I chose a different tack.  After 10 years in the yoga and wellness world, I was at the top of my career. It was time to walk away.  I sold my wellness businesses to finance my Masters in Psychology from Columbia University and I went into the program with two goals: to learn why yoga and meditation were so impactful to my mental health through dark times, and to learn how and why relationships last.

 

And here’s the thing.  It worked.  I discovered positive psychology, literally the science of how to be happier.  I lived knee deep in decades of research on the correlations between mental health and mindfulness.  And I spent the last six months of my time at Columbia writing my thesis on positive rituals for making love last.  

I was also falling in love.  But differently.  Slowly at first, without even knowing it.  It took 15 years of near missed connections and a dozen mutual friends for us to even meet.  It took over a year from the day we met until we went on our first date.  In some ways it felt very different, but mostly in how it showed up with everything I had been missing in each previous love.  He is a man who has become the healthiest, kindest, and most authentic relationship of my life.  

As my career at Columbia was coming to a close, I started talking about everything I had learned, and all of a sudden, everyone was listening.  My single friends wanted my “secret” to finding my relationship.  My married friends were taking notes on how we’ve woven positive psychology rituals into our day-to-day life.  Chats over coffee became powerpoint presentations which became workshops and from all of this, We Are Self-Centered was born.

My first intention in creating this community is to start where I started; with heartbreak.  What seems to be an ending is always the most profound opportunity for a new beginning.  The only roadblocks are when we become blinded by our own fears, attachments, and self-doubt.  What I once thought was my ending turned out to be only a paragraph in my story.  At Self-Centered we’re coming together to write through to the end of your story, and I promise, you won’t want to miss what comes next.