Five years ago I had a bit of cancer – enough to wake me up and wonder how I wanted to spend the rest of my life. I started to read – books that were new, guidance, basically all saying the same thing: The key to a happy life is to love yourself.
Bah! The idea of that makes me a bit shivery.
Unfortunately, it isn’t something us humans have been hardwired to do. On the flipside, we’ve been conditioned to share, to put others’ needs before our own and to self-check in case we are in fact a knob head. So… I put myself on a self-love mission.
It was on a beach a couple of years ago, having received this self-love alert fifty thousand times, I decided: right, I’m going to get this sorted. I lay there, practicing some “radical self-acceptance”. I’d taken a solo trip to visit my sister abroad, it was fairly quiet so I was undisturbed. I thought to myself I love you just the way you are chicken. I know you’re almost naked in front of strangers, I still dig you… I thought this a lot.
Let’s just say, there was nothing ground-breaking about it. I left the beach feeling meh… I went back to my sister’s later in the year. Went to the same beach but this time it wasn’t undisturbed. It was disturbed. I sand-castled, jumped in the waves, walked a lot, drank a lot, laughed a lot, shouted a lot.
One morning I woke up and thought to myself: What am I doing? I had the mother of all mothering hangovers. Which is different to normal ones. It’s one where I still have to function. In my everyday life, I am zoned-in on what I put in my body (I value it more since the old ‘might die’ episode). I remember thinking Why? Why do you wait until your lovely holiday to poison your body? You’re a mess. What are you doing? Genuinely that’s what I thought.
And that’s when I realised – this is the time I need to start training in self-love: So Emi, listen doll, you’re O.K. babe, I love you anyway, even though you’re hungover and not perfect. You are still a perfectly valid, worthwhile, likeable human. A pretty fabulous human actually. I like you. (Yes that’s allowed.)
It felt false to start with because it was so unfamiliar. But it worked, I felt better. It felt like I’d found what I’d been looking for. I realised, it’s no use trying to practice loving yourself when you’re chillin’ in your shades and ‘kini on the beach; you need to have your own back when you’re staring in to your mascara-ravaged, blood-shot eyes, beating up on yourself. You need to step in… because who else will?
It’s super counter-productive BTW all the hating. It doesn’t help. In a world ever-more efficient, we are behaving like dinosaurs with this stuff. Self-love is not the same as selfish y’all! On the contrary, the hating, occasionally pops out of my mouth! Now, when I’m not feeling crackalackin’ on the internal radar, it might take me a while but eventually I’ll remember that giving myself a little self-lovin’ pep talk will help… with virtually any blue mood.
**Speech** Don’t be afraid of your inner bully. Tell them to pipe the heck down. Because your love is for you too and if you can be with your faults, shake their hand, give them a hug, then wow! You’re on the road to Happy Town my friend.
Go for it! Be strong self-lover.