Hey guys! HAPPY EASTER! Today’s Monday Motivation is about loving yourself. SELF-LOVE is a really popular term at the moment, and I think that’s a really good thing. I’m going to explore it over the next weeks, and today start with how we feel about ourselves and how we look, my own experience (and so how I feel and felt about myself from a female perspective, though I think the same goes for men too and this is important to recognise!).
let’s stop comparing ourselves to others negatively.
let’s stop feeling bad for not being attractive enough.
let’s stop this unhealthy obsession with youth and looks.
let’s start telling ourselves positive, nurturing things.
let’s start being supportive of ourselves.
let’s start being proud of our achievements.
let’s share this with the next generation!
I don’t know about you but I’ve spent too much of my life feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. One of my first memories is at the age of 4 years old feeling intense shame at the (perceived) rough skin on my knees compared to another girls. I remember wanting the ground to open up. The (joint) youngest, I had older sisters and watched them going through their teenage years and feeling insecure about their bodies, which I absorbed. I was a pretty carefree child mostly but I would often look at myself in the mirror (thin as a rake and ten years old) and 100% think I had cellulite (then, later, I did. SO WHAT!!!). I read a lot of teenage magazines, and really drilled into myself this intense idea about how I should look and of observing other women’s bodies and comparing them to mine, rarely favourably. I was a bit vain and insecure and spent a lot of time looking in the mirror. This is pretty normal. I hardly ever felt good about how I looked, which is sadly fairly normal too, and such a shame. I have had a life-time of freaking out about my body, of feeling so sad about it so often. Most of the time I looked great! And don’t even get me started on how I felt about my vagina. Okay I said it. It’s not a dirty word, not a word to feel uncomfortable about saying! Let’s get over all this self-loathing rubbish (help!).
it’s such a waste of precious time!
I gained and lost weight over the years, I’ve had body dysmorphia, which came after developing type 1 diabetes in my late twenties. I’ve experienced a lot of things to do with food and weight and unbalance, (read about my weight loss story here xx). My health and emotions have battered me like I was tied to a post in a stormy sea. But I
have learned am learning to love my body all the more. It is, whatever its weaknesses, a miracle. It is so astoundingly complex and incredible. And I know too that what we see is what we feel, and not always what is there. And that if you want to make changes, being stressed and hating yourself is not the way to do it. Loving yourself enough is the only way. I am finding the balance I need through a plant-based diet of whole foods, and so much joy too. I’m looking after myself, and that feels good.
nurture yourself, be your own best friend ♥
I think that all the images we absorb are a big part of the problem and we have to both give ourselves some space from them (read good literature, keep a diary, spend time outside enjoying nature, take up a hobby that nurtures and makes you feel good and help you grow in the right direction), and also train ourselves up to not react to images of other people’s beauty in a way that makes you feel bad.
I’m now in my thirties and hands up, I’m scared of getting older, I have a lot to worry about too with the health conditions I have, but also I’m overwhelmed at times by the beauty of the girls and women younger (and older) than me, as you get older they just keep coming and you feel pressure! But I don’t want to feel insecure or jealous, or to let myself be or feel that I am less important either. People are beautiful, many more beautiful than any physical beauty could give, which is undoubtedly the most important thing of all. I’m not bad-looking in the eyes of the world (well, of my culture anyway, others may beg to differ), less so when I was more overweight, but SO WHAT? Shouldn’t we drop this narrative? It’s insulting to those who fall short of the ideal, which we all will inevitably if we don’t already, it’s damaging, it’s weird, it’s the opposite of progressive. It’s okay that there are physically stunningly beautiful people out there! It’s okay to want to look good, to keep healthy and fit and look well. Clothes are wonderful, makeup can make you feel empowered. It’s okay that youth is radiant. They have a right to their beauty, but they (and all) also have the right to be respected as individuals with more to offer. If it’s all about youthful beauty what are we telling them and others? It’s so gnarly. The youth obsession that is so pervasive spreads fear, it spreads unhappiness, it spreads dis-empowerment. We have to watch what we spread to the next generations and nurture them to be as balanced as they can be and to actively believe in equality. An older woman is powerful, is experienced, is truly a woman, that strength and wisdom is something to respect, to aspire to and aim for. Let’s really think about what it is to be a woman and carry that with us.
and it’s okay to look ANY way (just don’t look too mean or the wind might change…).
I can be critical, especially of myself, it’s built into me, I want to unpick this, I don’t want be held back by my own emotions, which sometimes tell me to go and lie down in a dark room with a blanket over my head and that it’s all downhill from here and doesn’t my face look haggard and I’m drying up and… S T O P ! ! ! It’s up to me to rationalise, to shake off the youth obsession I absorbed from reading all those STUPID (fascist) girly teenage magazines and to grow into as strong and magnificent a woman as I can be. And that means ALL my life. I want to be me my whole life, the best me I can be, shrug off the haters and other people’s issues that are projected onto me, and fight prejudice and insecurity till the end ♥
We’ve got to stop the cycle of hate, for ourselves, for others (the two go together so often too), it’s so sad and such a waste of precious time and energy. Insecurity is no fun, for anyone. Tell yourself everyday. Tell the people you love too (about them and about you xx)
I AM A WOMAN.
I AM STRONG.
I AM CAPABLE.
I CAN DO IT.
I AM DOING WELL.
I CAN COPE WITH SUCCESS AND FAILURE.
I AM GOOD ENOUGH.
I AM GOING TO GROW.
To nurture our health is the most important thing, and if we do then we will look better and feel better, feel happier and more able to cope with life’s challenges. So, cut yourself some slack, give yourself encouragement and the fuel you need to be strong and healthy, drink plenty of water, rest, smile everyday, laugh as much as possible. Breathe (fresh air). Forgive others and forgive yourself. And be at one with the flow of the universe, it will go on flowing either way.