Cheryl Burke: You’re stuck with yourself for life, you better like yourself

Former Dancing With the Stars pro Cheryl Burke has had a turbulent past couple years. Early in 2022 she filed for divorce from Matthew Lawrence after three years of marriage, and hinted it was due to cheating on his part. A year later Matthew got together with Chilli Thomas and publicly declared that his life was “in complete bloom.” Most harrowing of all was the court custody case over their baby, French bulldog Ysabella (Cheryl won in the end). Amid her divorce drama, Cheryl also left her professional home of DWTS in 2022 after 26 seasons, but she is now returning in a new capacity (I guess they’ve shaken off her calling them out for strike breaking). No stranger to podcasts — she hosted Pretty Messed Up for two years — Sex, Lies, and Spray Tans will see Cheryl interviewing past celebrity DWTS contestants for a glimpse behind the mirror ball. While hyping the show to Yahoo’s The Unwind series, Cheryl reflected on difficult transitions in life and dance:

She was scared to say yes to DWTS: “I remember being asked to do Dancing With the Stars,” she says. “I was also living in Harlem at the time with my dance partner/boyfriend, and I was very comfortable there. I was scared to say yes to the show. And it took a long time for me to actually say, ‘OK, I’m going to try this.’ There’s a difference of feeling like, ‘No, I shouldn’t do this,’ like following your intuition and [knowing] ‘this is not a good idea’ versus ‘I’m scared to do it, but I know I should.’”

Bodily intuition: “For me, I know there’s always something that I feel in my body,” she explains. “Specifically, when [something] is not a good choice or something fishy is happening, it feels like my heart just dropped down to my stomach, like I’m on a roller coaster ride. I can choose to listen to it or not. Every time I didn’t listen to it, my life became stagnant, my whole energy became stagnant.”

No change without awareness: “You’ve got to step back from your own thoughts for a second and just observe.” And sometimes, when you do that, you may realize it’s time to create significant change — in your relationship with yourself and with others. “You are who you hang out with, you are who you’re raised by, you are your environment — unless you consciously change it,” points out Burke. “It’s like breaking a bad habit. There’s no mental health improvement without awareness.”

Her therapies have a mind-body balance: As she’s forged ahead into a whole new chapter of her life this year, Burke has prioritized her mental health by working with both a talk therapist and somatic therapist, who focuses on how emotions are felt in the body. She’s also tapping into the power of other mind-body practices, including transcendental meditation, which she says she has aimed to do twice daily since separating from Lawrence.

A pandemic in itself: “Suffering [when it comes to] mental health is a pandemic in itself. No one wants to talk about it. In order to normalize it, we have to talk about it… I’m going to do this work forever. It’s never gonna stop, that’s the thing. I will always be healing, I will always be working on me. And at the end of the day, it’s because I’m stuck with me. You’re stuck with [yourself] for the rest of your life, and you better like yourself.”

[From Yahoo! Life]

“You’re stuck with [yourself] for the rest of your life, and you better like yourself.” Oof, that’s a biggie. When I was in my early twenties I found myself saying to a teacher that I thought it was in bad taste to like myself. He very kindly suggested that I might want to take a look at that. We humans are funny creatures. Most of us spend a great portion of our lives figuring out just how to be… ourselves. You’d think that would be the one area where you had an advantage, given that you’re the only you out there. But no. We struggle to unpack the influences, circumstances, and Beyonce albums that have affected us the most, and next sift through what’s helping us versus what we can shed. Then to compound things, we’ve upheld a centuries-old tradition of assigning shame to honest conversations about mental health and self esteem. Outside of a Pixar movie, no other animal on this planet tortures themselves this way. I’m with Cheryl, we have to talk about it. And I love how she’s gone full hippie with somatic therapy and transcendental meditation. On that note, I’ll leave you with the first line (spoken, not sung) of the stage show HAIR: “Transcendental meditation on the ocean of reality is love.”

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6 Responses to “Cheryl Burke: You’re stuck with yourself for life, you better like yourself”

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  1. feverything says:

    “You’re stuck with [yourself] for the rest of your life, and you better like yourself.”

    This is so profound Gosh.
    I fucking love myself. I wish I was only stuck with myself.

  2. Tulipworthy says:

    Reminds me of the Bruce Springsteen lyric “I feel sorry for the man who is living in his own skin and can’t stand the company “.

  3. Normades says:

    “Outside of a Pixar movie, no other animal on this planet tortures themselves this way.”
    So many gems here. Thank you.

  4. Silent Star says:

    I get the sentiment, but there are a lot of people with extremely deep emotional scars that make it hard to ever like themselves. By not doing so, it can add to their feelings of failure. Reading the article it’s clear she means that life is happier if you like yourself and that is why it’s important to keep working on it. But there can be a lot of judgment on people who have low self esteem, so I’m not fond of reading headlines like that because it can become an oversimplified social mantra, suggesting you’re unworthy unless you really like yourself.