When you see the words self love, what do you think? Does something kick you in the gut and you have a kinda weird, half awkward smile. Self Love. It's not something as friends or family we sit around talking about. It's even a weird subject to bring up without feeling awkward. Why is it like that when It's the one thing we all know we should be living and breathing. But are we? Is self love looking at yourself in the mirror every day and saying "I love you"? Really? Are you honestly going to do that? Or is it knowing and accepting all of your flaws and beauty without questioning it and wishing you were someone else? How real and honest are you with that little voice in your head? That voice which is your inner child.
Self love is a very simple and quick statement, yet so powerful. I'm not going to quote to you 7 daily mantras to say every day or tell you to find a feather from a sacred owl and on the next full moon make a wish and then TA DA you have self love! It's not that easy. To be honest it's one of the hardest journeys I’m on. Self love comes with time. Self love comes with you being 100% committed to your worth, your beauty, your heart and your soul. It pushes you to really understand you and not let anyone or anything stand in your way.
The last 16 months have been one hell of a journey for me. My father passed away, my partners father passed away, I had surgery and my partner and I broke up, which lead me to move out and start my life again. Through all of this journey the one consistent thing I have had to rely on is myself. Which is fine, unless you don't 100% love and accept you for you. If you are beating yourself up and questioning your self worth, what chance do you have!?! You have to have your own back. You have to build yourself up. You have to pick yourself up from the floor when you're the only one around. You have to dig deep to find the courage and strength to always be taking steps forward. BUT in order to do all of this you have to be kind to yourself by demonstrating unconditional love.
As humans we have anywhere between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts a day. I challenge you to think how many of them are positive and giving yourself a little bit of love? Or are they negative and putting you down? I tried to consciously count positive and negative thoughts one day while putting together this blog and it was horrifying how many negative or not uplifting thoughts I could have. Why do we do this? Is it easier to go to the negative? There is so much research on positive psychology at the moment and how it can affect your day, your learning and also your life. Why are we just clicking on to this now? That by consciously making positive thoughts and actions in our lives they could enrich it on so many levels!
You could be thinking right now "how many positive or negative thoughts do I have?” Try and count, even if it's for an hour or two. The results may astound you. World renowned researcher Dr. Barbara Fredrickson has discovered that experiencing more positive emotions throughout the day can broaden people's mind and build their resourcefulness. There is very interesting research worth looking into. You can also do a free survey to see how your positive ratio checks out! The positive to negative ration is 3:1 - 3 positive to every 1 negative.
I know I can come across as a very confident person who would go out for dinner on my own, talk to a stranger and just do things other people may find uncomfortable. I know my confidence at times could annoy people and my loud, larger than life personality can be uncomfortable for groups. I sometimes want to slap myself and inset a filter to my mouth! But that's just me, and after all these years I’m finally loving me for me. I'm accepting me for me and not changing myself for anyone or anything. But let's be real with each other, even the most confident person can break behind closed doors when no one is around. They could have a consistent struggle with being confident and insecure. They can question if they annoy people or if people like them. Self love and self acceptance can go such a long way with all of these thought patterns. This was the core driving essence for writing this blog. If I can feel all of these feelings and have this big challenge with my self love journey, I mustn't be the only one. We have to unite and be each other's support. We have to talk to each other about the struggles and not feel ashamed that you're feeling all of these negative thoughts towards yourself. Why can we look at our partner or child and tell them we love them with no judgement and would possibly do anything for them, yet can't do the same to ourselves?
To me self love is being kinder to my subconscious, the inner child with in all of us. It's consciously thinking more positive thoughts in one day than negative. It’s saying out loud or writing down 3 things I really love about myself every week. It's loving me, all of me. It's having a healthy outlook on wanting to be better, stronger and fitter YET still loving the person I am right here, right now. It's allowing myself to eat what I want without counting the calories. Just reminding myself everything in moderation. I've realized I can eat that yummy pasta dish for dinner and enjoy every bite, and no it won't put on 5kg by the morning. I’ve also had the light bulb moment that I can go to the gym and work out because I love the endorphins. I'm not working out to lose that imaginary weight that's in my head, I’m doing it to feel alive and also to invest in my future self. I don't have to own scales, it's just a number and that number sure as hell doesn't define me.
I am also a strong believer that self love goes hand in hand with self talk. When you really think about it they are pretty much the same. They feed off one another. If you have bad self talk you sure as hell don't have self love. Self talk builds your foundation on how you look at yourself and how you feel. I've really noticed lately that I have a terrible habit of going immediately to the bad, the negative, the worst possible outcome when I'm faced with a situation. I think it's a self defense mechanism, a pretty screwed up one to be honest! So my very small steps to overcoming this is being in-tune and consciously awake when situations are going on around me and when the bad, negative thoughts enter my mind I use all my self talk power to push it out and talk through all the positives. It's exhausting…but it's working! Bad things will still happen, I know this. But the more I create a positive outlook and feeling around situations, I know more positive things will happen.
Now I don't want you all thinking by doing all this you're going to turn into a stuck up snob, that's just not going to happen. But I tell you what will happen if you start by showing yourself some small self love, your heart will be ignited to beat a bit stronger and when you look in the mirror your smile will be a bit bigger.
Self love is the challenging personal journey with yourself, but you should never feel alone on that journey. We are all in it together, but it starts with you. If you are currently in this challenging journey too then don't ignore it. Dig deep with those feelings and thoughts and sit in the muck, the place it feels really uncomfortable and ask yourself why. When you start identifying the why you will start taking steps to change your thought and habits when it comes to you.
So if there is one thing you take away from this blog let it be these three words "You are enough". Start there. With these three words you can create so much. Let it be something you say to yourself every day. Let it be the sticky note on your bathroom mirror. Write it down over and over again till you believe it.
You are one magical, strong piece of this universe that lives on a planet circling the sun, floating through infinite time and space. Own who you are and love every single inch of it!
The Wonderful Puzzle of Me
I'm not graceful.
I'm kinda clunky & I feel weird in my own skin.
I'm not your normal girlie girl,
yet I'll put on a pink tutu and dance around the house.
I've got the soul of a mermaid and heart of a fairy.
I sneeze like a mouse and lift weights like an elephant.
I see the world through rose coloured glasses and always want to believe that life could be a fairy tale.
I'm an earth child, hippy loving, tomboy, ocean free, universe wise, 21st century girl with muscles and a hot pink manicure to go with it.
Don't try and put me in a box as I'm always creating another side of myself.
A new piece of me to add to my wonderful puzzle.
I don't think it will ever make sense, and for a long time I wasn't ok with that. But now I am.
Poem - Kirsty Kohlhagen