My heart is fuller than my stomach as I sit at Café Javas, Kira road indulging in a little self-love. It has been ages since I spent on myself. The excuse that I am trying to make money had become a euphemism for stinginess towards me. Giving gifts, tips, advice, hugs and a kind word come easy for me; as long as it is directed at someone else. Why does this have to be the case? I am as deserving as the next person I am going to bless.
Self-love has been choked by the weeds of corridor talk and social media comments.
It has been made the villain and called all sort of names including frivolity and vanity. Salon time, cuticle care and a good ole massage are called buggee and frowned upon by the majority of my peers. Anyone seen doing these is called loose or reckless. Even in silence, the weight of disapproving frowns and stares leaves the feeling of icy fingers trailing down one’s spine as the spa doors swing shut behind them.
I look around me and see people; lovely souls shrivelling up due to neglect and lack of self-love. While an occasional passer-by may shower them with rains of love and positivity, their own roots do not go deep enough to draw life from the water that flows around them.
Oh that we would allow ourselves the joy of our own care through self-love!
An occasional selfie, a new pair of sneakers, an itsy bit of chocolate, a cup of coffee at the finest hotel or a spa-day will go a long way in bringing the spark back into your eyes and a spring into your step. Before you look out for someone to treat you to a lovely anything this Valz day, how about you love on you?
DISCLAIMER: This does not mean that you should not express your love to a loved one! It just means you should not forget you as well (especially if you’re often forgotten but those who ought to show you love)
I decided to go next level with this self-love campaign.
It all began with taking care to select an outfit that made me feel confident and good about me instead of a haphazardly thrown together mismatched one. Next, I said yes to sleeping a little longer than usual and getting my exercise in to take care of my body. I made the deliberate decision to take off time by myself to recharge away from the demands of life. To take care of my spirit, I welcomed all the good and positive energy the world had to offer. I smiled at strangers, tipped the waiters heavily, gave hugs and complemented everyone I possibly could.
After all this, I am aglow!
The life I have always wanted to live was within my reach all this time! And now I would like to share with you the four things I allowed myself to go through to get to this point.
Unlike grief, living my best life began with acceptance. Acceptance of my body, my personality, my flaws, my family, my strengths, my mistakes…everything! I accepted that I could not workout anymore because my knees were hurting again, that my body is curvier than the average lady and that my enthusiasm, zeal and energy are unquenchable and uncontainable. In a nutshell, I accepted all of me; the good, the bad and the ugly.
Doing this freed me to focus my energy on honing my strengths and raised my awareness about weaknesses I had the power to work on. It broke the shackles of guilt for not being like everyone else, brought my blessings into focus, erased my penchant for complaining and opened me up to a whole of good that had always existed but remained hidden by the veil of negativity through which I viewed my life.
The gratitude attitude became my favourite accessory. Armed to the teeth with goodness and generosity, I hacked at the weeds of ungratefulness that had made my heart immovable and inaccessible. As complaining gave way to gratitude, a light shone into my life illuminating the hidden gems I had failed to see before.
The more intentional I became about gratitude, goodness and generosity, the more blessings I received and became aware of.
3. FORGIVENESS OF SELF AND OTHERS
In a video, Lisa Nichols shared about how she overcame depression. The thing that stood out most to me was that every morning, she would forgive herself for at least 7 things! Forgiveness of self is the most underrated joy pill there is. I have found that the liberty and freedom I have found in Jesus Christ is further extended to a clear conscience void of self-condemnation.
The tendency to beat myself up over a failure, poor judgement or even just for drinking a soda is continually fading away as I learn to forgive myself. Surprisingly, this has raised my awareness of the good choices I can make in various life situations instead of nudging me towards a moral-less life.
In addition to forgiving yourself, let go of EVERY…yes, I mean every grudge! Grudges poison your heart, mind and eventually your body. They open you up to all kinds of inexplicable symptoms and illnesses. Just let them go! You get to choose how your future will turn out. There is no point dragging a 135 pound garbage bin onto a plane for your vacation. Call them up and tell them “I forgive you” and work at actually forgiving them; then watch the bud of your life blossom into a beautiful flower.
This may not be the conservatives’ favourite but it is what I did. I embraced my love for adventure! Now, I have not yet mustered the courage (or money) to go zip lining but I would definitely pounce on the opportunity if it presented itself. I have allowed myself to try out new dishes at restaurants. I have worn cloth styles I would never have before. I’ve had heart to hearts with total strangers and tried out new recipes. The more I embraced this side of me, the more I loved me and lived.
Come to think of it, this reminds me of a TedTalk by Dr. Andrea Pennington. She shared about how she found reason to live in the embrace of her musical streak.
Go out on a limb!
Wear orange tomorrow! Ask a waiter to take your picture (I struggled with this one). Try out a new habit (a healthy one like walking for 20 minutes every day). Visit a hotel/restaurant you would never step into otherwise. Plan a vacation for the end of the year and actually go! Learn a new skill. Get your adrenaline and endorphins moving and revel in the bliss of the aftermath (This does not mean do drugs! I see you looking for an excuse).
Maybe I should say, accept yourself yet again! That is the start of self-love and your fullest life.
Happy Valentine’s Day,
Until next time,