It has been one of those weeks!
I was ill… Whilst I sometimes suffer from hayfever and the occasional cold that I tend to just work through, this was different. This was a game-stopper. A thumping headache that felt like my head was wedged in a vice, complete loss of voice, terrible sore throat and no energy or appetite whatsoever.
In the past I would have fought through it – students to teach, a job to do, turn up anyway and muddle through, not giving my best but at least I haven’t let anyone down.
But not this time!
This time I listened to my body and knew that turning up and not giving anywhere near my best was actually more of a disservice than carrying on regardless. I knew that struggling on would make me weaker and let my illness stick around for longer. I knew that my central core desired feeling was ‘Authentic’ and that I had to do what was right for me. Synchronistically (yes, that is a word) one of my clients had also pulled a card for me during the week before that said “Nurture Yourself”. So I did…
I apologised to my students, spent the entire weekend curled up on the sofa and nurtured myself just like my mum would have done for me when I was little. I allowed myself to watch TV all day, to ignore emails, to do only what helped me feel better. My gorgeous sons helped too by filling my days with cuddles and getting me water and fruit when I needed it – I am truly blessed to have them and taking the time to be grateful for that was what I really learnt this week.
Yes, like the Beatles, I truly believe it is. But it is not the romantic love that we all spend so long seeking, although that too has a big part to play in life. It is the love of life, the love of our family, friends and ourselves, the love our planet, the love of humanity and the love of what we have that really gets us through the tough times. Not every day is easy and we all face different challenges, but opening your heart to love is the only way to find light in the darkness.
“I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.” ~ Arthur Rubinstein
This can be difficult to believe if you feel you have been bereft of receiving love for any length of time, but if there is one thing I have learnt over the past few years, it is that loving yourself has to come first. Self-love and self-care doesn’t come easily to most of us as we have been taught to put ourselves last, to be people pleasers, to care about what everyone else wants above our own needs. It is almost as if self-love is selfish, but it is most definitely not.
So, here are my three most important tips to get your started:
1. Take Hold of the Wheel
“There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.” ~ J.K. Rowling
It really is your responsibility to take control of your own life – as hard as that sometimes can be. If you are always blaming others for your failure, your looks, your mood, your upbringing or your situation, you are not taking responsibility for your own life. It leaves you feeling resentful and negative about everything. Step up and realise that it is your life and that life does not happen to you, but that you create your own reality. You always have a choice – you can choose to be unhappy or you can choose love. Some of the most successful people in the world have come from not only humble but terrible beginnings. They have realised that it is only through steering their own life that they can truly be happy.
2. Cancel your Subscription to ‘Comparisonitis Daily’
“Comparison is an act of violence against the self.” ~ Iyanla Vanzant
The more you realise that you are unique and different, the easier it becomes to love yourself for who you are. Comparing yourself to others is not only damaging to your psyche, but it is a waste of time. You really have no idea about another person’s real circumstances that have lead to their success, their weight or their fame and you have no idea about their own inner struggles. Whilst it is healthy to be inspired by people, constantly comparing yourself to others can leave you feeling deflated and give you a false sense of worthlessness. Celebrate instead your unique talents and how you can help the world with what only you have to offer.
3. Take Time to Rediscover Yourself
“Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?” ~ Danielle LaPorte
Life is all about learning, and rediscovering who you really are. Spending time discovering, acknowledging your hopes and facing your fears is the only way to really understand what makes you tick. You can learn this anyway that suits you – from online courses to mentoring, from retreats to self-help books. They key is that you DO learn, not how you go about it. One of the best tools I have found yet is Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map. I’m one of her Licensees now because of the HUGE impact it is continuing to have on my life. I love to help anyone who feels really stuck with this stuff and know it’s what I am meant to be doing with my life, but honestly, I don’t care how you rediscover yourself – JUST DO IT NOW!
Taking these three first steps and consciously trying to follow them every day will help you open your heart and your mind to the love that really is all around. And if you need a more visual reminder, you can always try a temporary tattoo like I had on this week!
Rose Quartz isn’t called the Love stone for nothing. It can help open your heart to forgive others and yourself and learn how to love unconditionally. Carry a piece in your left pocket to encourage love of all kinds in to your life – and a heart shaped piece not only looks great, but can amplify that intention.
Resources & further reading:
Learning how to actually love yourself – a six step plan
Live the life you love. Love the life you live – Sue’s Desire Map journey