February – The Month of (Self)Love

Happy Valentines Day everybody!

Now, I’m going to sound quite cynical but, I don’t “do” Valentine’s day. I don’t believe that one day is going to make a difference to a relationship and I think love should be celebrated every day. Love isn’t just tied to relationships either…..

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The phrase “Self Love” is used so much these days but there is a lot of confusion over what it actually means. I suppose everyone will have their own idea of what it is but it’s not as simple as it sounds.

Self love is an appreciation of yourself, not in a narcissistic way though. It’s about being comfortable and confident in your own skin, knowing what you want from life and making it happen. It’s taken me a long time to get where I am mentally and physically but I can honestly say I am in a good place and I do love myself.

I haven’t always been this way though. I was once a size 6-8 and was the most unhappy I have ever been but then on the other end of the scale, I have been at my heaviest and though unhappy about my size I was happy with life itself. Self love is about finding the right balance and it’s not just about loving your body. At my smallest I was in a horrible relationship and I never felt comfortable with the way I looked or the way I felt. Even though I had my daughter from this relationship it was the darkest time of my life. I don’t try and block these years from my memories though, at the end of the day I was given my beautiful daughter and I learnt from it. I learnt that I wanted more from life. I was strong enough to walk away from that situation and I look back on it to remind myself what an amazing life I have now.

It’s not easy to let go of your insecurities and hangups. I did need to lose weight in order to be happy with my body but not everyone does. I’m not super skinny, I have cellulite and stretch marks and I have a tummy pouch from having 2 huge babies! (8lb 2.5oz and then 9lb 2oz) That’s what I had to learn to accept though, I have grown 2 humans in my body, it is never going to look how I’d like it to because of that. But instead of thinking “I want a flat stomach with no stretch marks” I think “my body has housed 2 healthy babies, I’m damn proud of that!”. I did get down to a size 10 and I am really happy with the way I look now. I have considered losing more but I know that I don’t need to and actually, at 5″10 I looked ridiculous as a size 8, I was more lollipop than person. Accept your imperfections, they’re what make you an individual.

I still have down days and I struggle with body image every so often but I then look back at where I was 10 or even 5 years ago and I soon snap out of it again. I think about what I have now and I feel amazingly lucky! I have a supportive partner who is always there for me and encourages my crazy ideas (like starting my Instagram page and then this blog, he’s designed it all for me!). I have 2 beautiful and clever children as well as my fur baby. We live in a nice house, we have good jobs and we have an amazing circle of friends. I’m not even close to being the same person I was 5 years ago and the me from 10 years ago is long gone!

It’s not easy and it does take time but here’s my tips for finding Self Love:

  • Banish the poison – get rid of nasty people in your life. People who put you down and make you feel anything but amazing have no place in your life. You’ll soon realise that they need you more than you need them. You can always make new friends and there are plenty more fish in the sea.
  • Celebrate your body – Have you had children? Run a 5k? Whatever you have done then your body has done amazing things! Even if you don’t feel you have ever accomplished anything, your body is still the reason you are able to get up in the morning! Mine is totally broken (see my living in pain post) yet I still love it.
  • Say No! – Don’t do things you don’t want to do and don’t be afraid of saying no. Concentrate on doing things that make you happy not what everyone else wants you to do.
  • Take time for you – Even if it’s half an hour in the bath at 10pm when the kids have finally gone to sleep, 15 minutes with your headphones in and your eyes closed on your daily commute or going to bed an hour earlier than usual once a week. It doesn’t matter what you do, just find that little bit of time to do something that makes you feel good. Personally I enjoy yoga.
  • Live for now – don’t dwell on the past, it’s the past for a reason. Learn from mistakes but trust the path you are on. I am a firm believer in everything happens for a reason, you will get where you are supposed to be. Focus on what you have right now and the positives, if you don’t like something then change it!
  • Be you – wear what you want, say what you want, have your hair and makeup however you want, just do it confidently! It’s all about being comfortable and being who you want to be.
  • Smile – it confuses people. It also makes you feel more positive about things and it’s more likely to ignite conversation.

I really hope this post helps even just one person to get to a positive place in their life. I know that it might not be this simple for some and counseling may be a better option. If you need to speak to someone more urgently then the Samaritans number is 116 123.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone

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