“Self-love has very little to do with how you feel about your outer self. It’s about accepting all of yourself.” ~ Tyra Banks
Actually, is it that easy? Loving yourself I mean.
And just how beautiful do you really think you are?
The title of this blog post is taken from the lyrics of a seventies hit by Minnie Riperton called “Lovin’ You“. Recently whilst lying on a sun lounger on holiday, reflecting on the previous few weeks, the song popped into my head which led on to some more in depth reflection.
I am currently coaching on a three month personal development programme where I am coaching five people. Although I am a coach, I am also required to participate in the course as if I am also a coachee. As a result, I have had several personal revelations.
It was one of these revelations that I was pondering when the lyrics of Lovin’ You came to mind.
Accepting compliments and being with acknowledgement
I have always found it incredibly difficult to receive compliments and acknowledgements, and at the end of one of the sessions on the programme, I raised a concern about a breakdown in communication and how it had left me feeling dis-empowered as a coach. I actually got very upset as by this time I had been there for 15 hours and was feeling completely exhausted.
To my surprise, after some discussion it became apparent that I was not the only coach feeling that way and many of them acknowledged me for the contribution I had been to the group, the support I had provided and for keeping the energy positive since the start of the programme.
Rather than making me feel better about myself, I began to cry almost uncontrollably. I am not someone who cries in public so it was very unsettling for me to be sitting crying my eyes out surrounded by 10 other people – none of whom I know very well.
Eventually I relaxed and stopped crying and thanked everyone for the comments.
In the days that followed however, I kept asking myself why I got so upset when the coaches acknowledged me and why I generally find it so uncomfortable when people praise me and give me positive feedback?
After writing in my journal and speaking with a few people close to me, I realised that I see myself as ordinary, no different to anyone else. However when I was growing up, there were many times where I stood out from my peers and as I’ve grown older, I have achieved some things that friends and colleagues are still striving for; and my achievements have not always been welcomed by others.
Therefore, in attempt not to make others feel uncomfortable, over the years I have learned to dismiss anything I do as ordinary and insignificant to avoid standing out from the crowd.
Overlooking the positives to focus on what needs fixing and improving
I know I am not alone. I know that many people represent some part of their life as being much less than it really is. We become experts at pretending things don’t really matter too much. We look in the mirror and focus on all the things that are wrong with us. We compare ourselves to others and are never truly happy with the complete package. Rather than looking at and celebrating our greatness, we diminish it and scrutinise the areas we feel need enhancement.
Of course in all areas of life there is room for improvement, however it is also necessary to stop and appreciate everything we have achieved and everything that makes us special. Each of us has an abundance of qualities to be grateful for but too often we forget because we are so busy trying to fix what we think is wrong.
Whilst laying on my sun lounger singing the lyrics to Lovin’ You in my head, I wondered what life would be like if loving ourselves really was easy.
What would it be like to look in the mirror and really appreciate every part of us – lumps, bumps, marks and less than favourable inherited features?
How would it feel to love ourselves as much as we love those closest to us?
Embrace, accept and love your true nature
It then dawned on me that one of the reasons I was so overwhelmed by the acknowledgement of all the coaches is because they could see in me what I could not see myself – or at least that I have not been willing to acknowledge for myself. They honed in on areas of my personality that I have fought hard to keep hidden but that deep down inside I know are qualities unique to me and that make a significant and positive contribution to many people.
We live in a society where we are branded arrogant for loving ourselves, boastful for sharing our achievements and selfish for putting our own needs first. For this reason it can be difficult to embrace, accept and love our true nature. Add to that the advertising and marketing world that bombards us with messages about all the improvements we need to make, it is no wonder most of us disregard our unique gifts and talents.
If we could all accept ourselves as whole and complete, I wonder if that would then allow us to accept each other in the same way, reserving judgement of one another because we would no longer be protecting ourselves from our own insecurities.
Perhaps you will read this and think I’m being idealistic, or maybe, hopefully you will start to increase your love for yourself.
The first thing I am working on to increase my self-love is honouring my word to myself. I am very good at keeping my word to others. If I say I’ll do something, I do it. If I agree to be somewhere, I’ll be there and on time. However, I do not operate like this with myself.
I think about what my relationships would be like with the people I love if I treated them the way I treat myself, and it’s not a positive thought. No doubt at best they would see me as unreliable and flaky, at worst, the relationships would not exist. When you think about it like that, you really start to get the impact of how you treat yourself.
The second thing I am doing, is creating an experience that gives a group of women the opportunity to take time out to show themselves some love.
Eat, Pamper, Love is happening on Saturday 6th September in London and tickets are available to purchase online. The early bird price ends this Saturday. Come along and join me on the journey of making self-love easy as we truly begin to see ourselves as beautiful.
Sharing is Caring… Share Your Thoughts
What one thing can you start doing to begin increase the love you show yourself?