The Self Love Secret

The concept of self-love used to be very foreign to me. I thought that loving myself meant being pretty selfish and for a very long time I associated it with arrogance.

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When I was a little girl, my Mum would use phrases like “Look at her she really loves herself” when an attractive woman walked by, and even though that was just a reflection of my beautiful Mother’s own insecurities about herself, somewhere along the way I started to think that way too. I thought a display of confidence, dressing up and taking time for myself was of the upmost selfish of acts and for many years I was an extremely shy person. I lived life in a very tentative way, I never wanted to upset anyone and I put everybody else’s needs before my own.

During my twenties though, suddenly everything I’d worked so hard for just felt like it didn’t belong to me anymore. Through boredom at work, too much partying and never having taken the time to stop and think about where my life was going, although outwardly successful, inside I had become completely numb and disconnected.

It wasn’t until my yoga teacher training with Ana Forrest that I was able to see just how much I had been hurting myself by putting my self-care so low down my list. I was suddenly able to see that self-care and love towards myself and my body was not only not selfish, but it was completely essential if I were to transform my life and find the happy and peaceful person I had once been. And as I began to drop back in my body again, as I began to give my health and my fitness some time, love and attention, and as I began to ‘feel’ again instead of numb out and ignore my intuition, I began to realise that I was worthy, I could do anything I wanted to do, and I did have choices, just so long as I put myself first and asked myself what it was I really wanted.

Something that is becoming more and more apparent to me is just how many women think they have to settle for an ordinary life, versus exploring the possibility of living an extraordinary one. I was someone who kept telling herself she should feel ‘lucky’ to have a job that paid well and a roof over her head even though I was miserable inside, because I’d simply never asked the one simple question “What’s possible for me?” I’d just never connected to the idea that more was possible for someone ‘average’ like me, and I think so many women can relate to that. And it was only once I began to take care of my body and really tune into the idea and the practice of self-love that I began to understand that so much more was possible for me than I had been letting myself imagine.

So if you’ve been feeling disconnected lately, ask yourself right now how much time you’ve carved out for yourself. It doesn’t have to be hours, it can just start with 5 minutes every morning, taking some deep breaths or closing your eyes to turn your attention inward towards your body.

Below are some of the tools I used when I first began to connect to the idea that I needed to get to know and love myself more:

1. Meditation – This is by far the most powerful tool that has helped me realise the importance of slowing down and making time for myself. It doesn’t have to be a spiritual practice unless you want it to be, it can simply be just taking a few minutes every day to close your eyes, breathe, and focus on your inhales and exhales. Meditation can really help us tune into our intuition and what we really want and allows us to access the still and peaceful place within us that is always there among the busy external world.

2. Yoga – Obviously I’m biased here as a teacher, so you need to find a form of exercise that works for you, but yoga has been a powerful teacher for me, mostly because it made me realise I didn’t have to punish my body every time I exercised. Although still a challenging physical practice, it’s taught me to move my body in a loving way and has allowed me to accept parts of my body that for many years I internally told myself I physically hated.

And our internal words can cause shocking external results, like illness, stress and fatigue. Yoga helps me quieten down the negative chatter I often have towards my body and has helped me look at it as a whole in a loving way, building body confidence from the inside-out rather than focusing so much on the individual parts I don’t like about myself.

3. Scheduling In ‘You’ Time – Because I was so outwardly focused on what I needed to do for my partner, my boss, my friends and my family, I was often a very ‘crazy-busy’ person who would continually say I ‘never had time’ for anything. I reached burn-out and depression so quickly because I was missing the secret ingredient – physically blocking out time for myself on my calendar.

Whereas previously I lived in the world of saying yes too often and feeling like I ‘should’ do things, these days, my time to myself to read, exercise, plan fun things to do, get a massage or write are
Pin Itcompletely sacred to me and non-negotiable, and my body soon tells me when I’ve been ignoring it because I end up in pain and I can begin to feel anxious.

There is a simple way for life to feel much easier and self-love is that way. Taking the time to connect to yourself, accept and love your body and put your self-care routine before the ‘to-do’ list will have the most monumental shifts in how you interact with your loved ones, how you’re able to make decisions, and ultimately how you’ll be able to live the happy and fulfilled life that you dream about.

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