I see self love as a journey of discovering how to love the life I live. About finding authenticity by doing the things I love and am passionate about. But it is not easy. It takes courage and constant vigilance.
Every day, I face moments of self doubt, times when I don’t feel good enough. Times when I feel fat and ugly. But now I am more aware of my perception of self. So when I think these things, I accept them and then gently remind myself of the good, strong, positive aspects. Some days I am better at this than others!
These are the things that have helped me to love myself more:
1 – Three years ago I started seeing an amazing healer. Her name is Colleen from Midlands House of Healing. I go to her for reiki and massage therapy. Since I started with her, I am less anxious, I don’t do nearly as many self destructive things, I’m less emotionally reactive and my moods don’t go on rollercoasters. I’m more calm, more contented and more creative.
2 – Yoga. Yoga is so empowering. It is helping me to love the strength of my body and soul. It is helping me to become more aware of myself and in the process I am way less emotionally reactive. I don’t yet go to yoga classes as have an 8-month-old baby to look after, but I am teaching myself via some books I found at my local library and Hospice shop and by watching free videos online. I practice when I can.
3 – Stopping alcohol and smoking. Once I started seeing Colleen, I soon stopped drinking destructively. It was easy to stop. I realised that I hated being drunk because it made me feel so restless, anxious and not like myself. I had started to like myself, so why would I want to not feel like myself anymore? Stopping smoking was much harder. But I have finally done it and never ever want to go back to that chain- smoking state where I was a slave to nicotine.
4 – Exercise. I have started trail running and have already done three 5km trail runs. It’s been a slow, consistent start, but gradually I am getting stronger and fitter and it feels amazing. Now I am working towards 10km. Running also gives me those precious moments where it’s just me again.
5 – Quitting my 9-5 job. I am so immensely grateful that I was able to finally quit my 9-5 job when my daughter Emma was born. That job exhausted me and sucked away all my happy creative energy. I used to get home from work so tired, put on a movie and just slouch the whole evening. I never looked forward to work. I felt drained, depressed and uninspired. I felt trapped.
Life is too short to feel like this every day! Since quitting, I feel like a new person. I have energy, I am rediscovering passion and creativity. I have ambition and dreams again. I feel like I am finally living an authentic life. I am working towards launching my own business – it’s hard work doing this in between looking after an 8 month old baby but I am making it happen and I am enjoying the hard work because it’s for something I believe in.
6 – Eating healthier. When we lived in the city we used to eat so much junk food and sweet sugary things. Gradually we are phasing this out. We have a veggie garden that has begun producing lovely fresh produce. We eat less refined stuff, more veggies, fruit and wholegrain. Less red meat. Drink more water. My plan is to eventually cut out sugar all together (this is proving hard as I am a sugar addict but I will get there) and reduce meat consumption, maybe even cut it out altogether.
7 – Be grateful for what I have right now. Being grateful is training me to see the great, positive things in my life. And there are so many – our beautiful farm home surrounded by green nature that overlooks a river; our healthy, thriving Emma; all the love from family and friends; my amazing partner and his loyal support; fresh delicious food on the table every day; my strong, beautiful body…. The list goes on an on.