Monday, 16 September 2013

What Is Self Love?


What is Self Love?

Self love is making yourself your own best friend which includes looking after yourself physically, mentally and emotionally. It is about learning to accept ,respect, forgive and be open and honest with all of who you are.

If you don't like who you are sometimes you start to search for approval in others such as relationships, friends or family which is not only unhealthy but can be dangerous and lead to disaster, not being who you truly are and more self hatred. It starts with you and continues with you! You are the only one that can work on yourself to truly love and accept who you are, others can be there to support you but it is your journey walk through.

Listen to your body and ask yourself what do I truly need right now? Your body is your temple, you only have one so treat it right and give it what it needs! Self love includes but is not limited to:
  • Giving your body nutritious foods and the right amounts
  • Exercising sensibly
  • Positive self talk/love letters/love notes to yourself
  • Positive body talk
  • Asking for help
  • Hobbies
  • Relaxing
  • Goal setting
  • Being fearless
  • Being real, open & honest (with yourself and others) 
  • Self respect/morals
  • Accepting/forgiving yourself and others
  • Treating others with love and respect
  • Knowing your strengths and weakness

How do I love myself?

Self Love is a daunting, scary and even a painful topic when you are in the mists of self loathing and are in a dark place but it is also an exciting, challenging and hopeful topic filled with excitement, opportunities and freedom. Self love doesn't happen over night nor in a week, just as recovery is a journey so is self love and should be practised daily.

The first part in learning to love yourself is dealing with all the hate. This is huge and is going to take some time. I suggest writing down everything you hate about yourself and ripping it up, confronting people you need to, writing a letter to yourself as a child, chucking out clothes etc. A great one that worked for me was Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). Really start to question/dig down to what's causing the hate and start finding healthy ways to deal with it/move past it. 

Letting go/moving past the hate is a time when you neither hate nor love yourself, this is a good time to start on some activities in learning to love and accept yourself. Now you may have seen me mention Gala Darling a few times this is because she is the Queen of self love and started The Radical Self Love Project which according to Gala is "self love/esteem wrapped up in a sexy bow". Gala has written and created some great articles and lists which have some wonderful ideas including the ones I mentioned for getting past the hate and also actives on learning to love yourself such as writing down what you love about yourself, any compliments you get and gratitude lists etc. Her lists and The Radical Self Love project are amaze balls and is definitely a go to guide on letting go of hate and learning how to love yourself.

Everyone is different and some activities may or may not help you in your journey so experiment and find what works for you. Ask yourself what are some healthy things/activities that are going to help me let go/move on from self hate? What are some healthy things/activities that are going to help me to learn to love myself? Don't know where to start...Gala's website is a perfect place to begin your journey! Here are some of my favourite articles by Gala!

My journey through Self Love

I remember my counsellors saying something about being able to love myself and I was sitting there thinking "WHAT THE F**K I'm never going to like who I am. I HATE MYSELF SO JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!!!" I was stuck in a world full of self hate one that I had been in for about 9 years and didn't understand how I was ever going to like who I was. I never really knew or understood what self love was I just thought is was some hocus pocus bullsh!t.

Two months into my recovery I was ready to give up I felt horrible and hated life. Around that time on a TV show there was an interview on Gala Darling. I had seen the shorts of it and thought "YAY someone who is different like me!". I watched the interview with my parents as she talked about blogging, fashion and The Radical Self Love Project. I knew from watching that she had gone through something painful to have started The Radical Self Love Project and to be the way she was, it then said she suffered with Anorexia for 5 years. I burst into tears. For so long I knew I was different and hated it. I then found my style, it made me feel beautiful and I started to like the fact I was different. People had pointed out I was different and tried to tell me it wasn't who I was, shy people don't dress like I do etc. It would make me angry that they didn't accept me for who I was and were trying to tell me who I should be.

Here was Gala though who was different and had gone through an Eating Disorder too. She had found a way out of it, loving who she was to the fullest, expressing herself in every way possible and now spreading that philosophy to others. It was an epiphany to me and gave me hope. I checked out her website and started reading her self love articles. Self love was exactly what I needed and her website had the resources to continue my recovery and start my journey of self love. 

One her homework assignments was to write down what you liked about yourself. My hair and my style were the only two things that ever made me feel beautiful but other than that I hated myself. After reading her article on Emotional Freedom Technique I tried the same thing she had done. I wrote down everything I hated about myself, locked myself in the bathroom naked and taped on each point replacing it with a positive one and told myself I deeply and completely love, forgive and accept myself. After hating myself and my body for so long I think finally telling myself even though I didn't like... about myself but I deeply and completely loved, forgave and accepted myself was what I needed to hear and tell myself. After doing EFT the voices and body dysmorphia have never been as bad. I still have lots of ups and downs with this but never to the degree it was.

A few weeks later I decide to sit down by myself and really think about what I loved about myself... I did like my eyes. They're like a bluey green and sometimes one colour is stronger than the other... they are pretty cool! I started to think some more... at that point in my recovery other than my eyes, hair and fashion style physical features were still something I was really struggling with and wasn't ready to heal and love. I started looking at my personality and morals I wrote:
  • I'm a nice person
  • I'm straight up
  • I'm hard working
  • I do my best
  • I fight for what I believe in
  • I care about other people
  • I'm creative
  • I'm bubbly
  • I'm funny
  • I love doing nice things for people 

Especially when you have struggled with an ED physical features are the hardest part of yourself to learn to love/accept so writing what you love about your personality and morals is a great way to start! Loving yourself works both inside and outside and I think it is really important to look at your morals and personality and really question different parts of yourself and ask is this healthy? Is there something I can change to make myself a better person? How am I going to do this? What do I want to stand for/what is my message to the world?

After looking and writing down what I loved about myself my self love affair continued I did my own meditating, took myself out on dates, wrote gratitude lists, bought a pink dress (I use to hate pink and dresses! Now I love them :D) and really started doing and enjoying the activities on Gala's lists.

Today I continue with doing activities on Gala's lists regularly as well as having gotten into training and eating clean to build a strong body and keeping myself healthy. I also continue to work on my strengths and weakness. It it so important to know what your strengths and weakness are so you know what you are good at and how to use them but also where you need to improve and grow. Don't be afraid to fail and make mistakes because that is where you grow and learn the most. Everybody has strengths and weakness as well as their own unique talents which are beautiful additions to this world! If you truly believe in your talents they have the power to light up the universe. 

Some of my strengths include my positivity, determination, hard work and standing up for being different which I all embrace to the fullest and continue to grow stronger in my daily life. Some of my weakness include struggling with my confidence and being comfortable around people because of fear of rejection. Also being extremely attached to my clothes which helps me/is positive in a lot of ways like helping me be confident, expressing myself to the fullest and embracing being different but the thought of being without them makes me feel like I can't be me. I want to get to the point where just knowing with or without my clothes I am/can be me. I share my strengths and weakness openly and freely because I accept that they are a part of me and I continue to break down barriers and work on them. Self Love is something I practise on a daily basis because it keeps my body and mind healthy, it is vitally important in maintaining my recovery, growing and changing as an individual.

A lot of things have helped me in my self love journey so here are my top 5 tips on how to start your self love journey!

My Top 5 Tips To Start Your Self Love Journey!

  1. Deal with the hate: No matter how painful and hard it is work through your issues and find healthy ways to let go/move past them.
  2. Start the loving: Do it, you know you want to! Come on write something you love about yourself down... Start searching out and doing activities that will kick this love affair into a life long romance!
  3. Baby steps: Self love is a big scary topic so start small if it is daunting to you but keep going and build it up each day. You might simply start with I like my eyes or nose whatever it is write it down and tell yourself often! Then start looking at other parts of yourself you like and writing them down. Also start picking some activities to try out and work through!
  4. Be fearless: Self love is scary but facing that fear is going to bring some major change your going to love!
  5. Practise daily: To keep the mind, body and spirit healthy practise self love daily. Speak kindly to yourself and do activities and acts of self love as often as possible.You'll progress day by day from once hating yourself to being and maintaining crazy love with all of who you are!
Here are some posts I've written related to Self Love feel free to check them out!

Self love is such an important part of life to love who you are freely and knowing that who you are is beautiful and enough. It is vital when you have gone through traumatic events or illnesses as healing and looking after the body as a whole makes you strong and healthy all over. So get up and grab a piece of paper, get writing and start the LOVING today! (By the way it does include that type of self loving too wink wink :p)

Love from the land of magic
Rainbow :) xoxo

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