Self Love | My Journey
I found self-love a few years ago, and put it to the test by practicing it. I am not one to accept the success rate of anything unless I try it for myself.
I began by stripping myself of all that hides me, my makeup, all my clothes and much later on, my fears. I stood in front of my wood framed mirror, every day for a week, chanting to myself that I love all the things that I actually forever despised. – “You’re beautiful, I love your nose, your stretch marks, I love how your eyes close a little when you smile, your big thighs, your lines under your chin, I love you!”
Seems too simple to be true? Well, it is.
A week or so passed and I did not begin to love the things I’ve always judged myself for any more than I ever did, but rather began to realise how silly it was to focus on these physical parts, when there are some things a lot more beautiful within.
This is the start of self-love, realising that there is so much more to love than just the physical.
My mind, my breath, my heartbeat, my senses and even my emotions were just a few things apart from my physical appearance that I knew I had to begin loving and most importantly, appreciating.
This is when I began to wake every morning and as my eyes opened, before anything else I would say, out loud, thank you to g-d for my breath. This has now become a crucial part to me having a good day. The breath is our life force; it’s what controls our emotions and what keeps our heart beating. If I am able to begin every day with the acknowledgement and appreciation of my breath, it would truly allow me to create a conscious note that I am alive.
Once I identified the simple, not so simple, consciousness of being alive. I took note, that living this life needs to be done with care. That’s when I identified further aspects of self-love such as health & sunblock. I started to feed my body what it was asking for, fruit, vegetables and a lot more water.
Each morning after appreciating being alive, I would wash my face, put on sunblock, brush my teeth and have one full glass of water followed by a homemade fruit or vegetable packed smoothie, not the best idea with my lack of exercise, because I put of a decent amount of weight, but then, I fell in love with Yoga.
The Yoga practise was formed to connect one’s mind body and soul through consciousness of breath and movement, perfect for me because I had already fallen in love with my breath. In the start, Yoga was a challenge. I was shocked at how stiff my body was & questioned how I ever lived with that tension in my shoulders.
As I kept practicing my yoga, I became a lot more flexible, relaxed, understanding and much more in tune with my thoughts.
Now it was time to take my relaxed self, into the not so relaxed, rush of the world. Sitting in traffic, getting hooted at and being cut off by Johannesburg taxi drivers was a definite test of my relaxation and many times I failed by allowing myself to get angry, swearing through my closed car window at a person all too chuffed to see me losing my control. Until, I realised my anger was just as useless as the K53 driving text-book and only ruined my day. That’s when I accessed my life force and found how wonderful it feels to just smile.
How wonderful it felt to flaunt my gapped tooth smile and even more wonderful when I noticed my smile making other people smile. Seeing the smiles on other faces, knowing it was because of me brought me to realise that the next important part of my self-love journey was not only to make others smile and feel good but to teach others how to feel good so they can make others smile too.
Slightly fearful to recommend self-love practises, I self-loved myself out of my fears and began a Facebook page ‘The Self Love Tribe.’ I began sharing tips and motivational quotes on self-love and though I never had many likes to begin with I kept at it and slowly my page grew. It made me feel so fulfilled to see others being inspired to love themselves because of me.
And finally, I found me.
Self-love is not trying to convince yourself to love everything about yourself. It is about appreciating who you are and the difference you can make in the world by simply loving and caring for yourself enough to be able to love and care about others. It is a constant, daily practise fuelled by faith and absolute appreciation that you are perfectly imperfect. Your reactions and choices influence your emotions and all those around you.
Choose to be happy, choose to love yourself.