Learning To Love You.
– It’s possibly one of the hardest things for us to do.
Having respect for your wants, needs. For the experiences you want to gain from life, the love you want to give. The love you want to receive. To be able to experience the above, would be amazing, surely?
So, why do such a huge proportion of us fail to manage to do it? Why? Because we have no idea that we don’t. It’s that simple.
Take little me, for instance. I was oblivious to just how much I didn’t love me. How little consideration I truly gave to what I deserve. This was absolutely holding me back from pushing forward in every area of my life. It’s now I have come to understand what an important part the inner work plays when it comes to success in life, and it has become a fundamental in the nutrition and lifestyle programmes I offer my clients.
Picture me in a sleepy little village in the middle of Buckinghamshire, UK, one Tuesday morning. I was attending a coaching day, with a spiritual mentor from the US. It’s probably now that I should mention that historically I have been a diehard science person. Addicted to the facts, to the things we could prove. We were each speaking about the things that hold us back. Being typically British, I was very reluctant to share anything about myself that could be deemed ‘emotional’. I was terrible at it. Years of environmental conditioning had made me that way.
I knew I was a nice, well liked and a self-professed hilarious person (I find my jokes funny anyway!) but I had no idea that this slightly awkward coaching session was about to kick-off a whole new world of self-love and living fearlessly; and this is how it started.
We were all in a living room actually, a very nice one too and we were all tasked with all manner of things that day that threw me out of my comfort zone. One by one, each person had their chance to speak openly and honestly that day about what they were holding inside. There were tears, and some really very emotional stories. It was a moving day to say the least but somehow, as I always do, I managed to get out of speaking about me, insisting everyone have their turn first. Though I had absolute compassion for everyone else, I had none for myself.
Later that day, right at the end, we were asked to sit comfortably, closing our eyes, putting our hand on our hearts and telling ourselves, ‘I love you’ …
…… and for some reason, I couldn’t do it.
The words refused to come out of my mouth. It was weird. My brain was REALLY willing my mouth to open and say those 3 little words; after all, everyone else was doing it so why the heck wasn’t I?
I couldn’t because I didn’t love myself, and believe it or not, at that point I still had no blooming idea.
I remember crying in front of the group ‘in public’ and feeling so embarrassed for doing so. I didn’t do crying! It’s not at all how I rolled, though I was open, comforting and encouraging of anyone else to express emotion, just not me. I didn’t love or respect myself, but for many years I’d put on an excellent show.
That’s when it all began. I knew right there and then that I had got to the bottom of every failure, every self-sabotage, every failed relationship and terrible life choice. This was the reason I wasn’t where I wanted to be romantically or professionally. I didn’t think I mattered or that I was worth it.
It’s a cliché, some may say, that you look to others to make you feel whole. To somehow fill the void you created, unknowingly. To expect them to achieve this for you, instead of loving your inner person enough to achieve it yourself and when they can’t, seeing it as a flaw within them. The others never stood a chance.
I started looking towards myself for these things. I spoke with my coach, my group. All of a sudden I found myself crying uncontrollably all the time. It was years of build-up making its way out.
I spent time speaking with a coach to help me push through things in the past. I needed answers.
Despite me not being able to tell myself ‘I love you’ that day about a month previously, I still was unaware just how much I didn’t. Until she asked me a question. I have a dog, and my gosh, I love that little thing. So very much. When talking about this, she asked me, “Why can’t you love yourself the way you love your dog?” I just stared at her. 4 questions/statements instantly went through my mind. In exactly this order! I remember as clear as day:
1) Do people do that!?
2) How do people do that!?
3) I don’t know why I can’t
4) How do you do that???
It was very new to me. Very, but I went away with homework that day, eyes red and swollen from some very emotional tears, and started my first step to, in the words of the fantastic Vishen Lakihani, becoming ‘Unfuckwithable’! This was the beginning of something great. For the first time in a very long time, I had my eyes open and I was seeing the world in a new light.
It’s been a journey, so they say, but heck! I’m feeling A LOT more positive about the future. I’m doing things for me, making choices in life based on what I want to do instead of what I felt I was expected to do. I’ve probably cheesed a few people off on the way and have spent a lot of time by myself while I fathom out where life is going to take me but I can tell you this. It looks blooming exciting!!
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