It has been a hot minute since we last had a guest blogger. I have been living under a heap of procrastination, but here we are. So, for those that are here for the first time, welcome. Every now and then we have people from across the world and all walks of life share their writing with us and I must admit, it is one of the features I most love about this blog.
I met this lovely lady a few months back and instantly we clicked. In truth, I was a tad bit obsessed with her cooking and I would linger in the kitchen looking over her shoulder whenever she concocted a delicious meal. She is Anthea, and I truly will do no justice to who she is,so let's get to know her with a few simple questions shall we...
1. What is the one thing you wish people knew about you?
I’m extremely spiritual – I honour and care about all around me, people, animals, insects and everything on our beautiful planet and that the hard shell you see is just a coping mechanism as I have a very big heart and don’t want it hurt.
2. What motto do you live by?
Thoughts become things. We are in control of our circumstances and we control our universe.
3. Who inspires you and why?
Currently I have no single person that inspires me, but rather I look at the inspirational traits that each person has around me. So in essence, I am inspired by all..
4. What is the hardest lesson life has taught you?
People are not always who you think they are. Don’t be gullible!
5. What was your happiest moment (the first thing that comes to mind)?
The day I found out I was pregnant after 3 years of struggling, which ties in with the day I gave birth to my son.
Why don’t you just go “love” yourself
When Marvelous Mavis asked me to write a piece about self-love, I had to take a step back and do a real soul-searching moment.
I mean, what is self-love actually and am I even doing it right?
Is it having your nails done once a week, getting your hair blow-dried, or in my case, buying a new pair of shoes at least once a month? I found myself in the pose of “The Thinker” and really having my inner personalities have a go at each other. When I mention the word around most of my girlfriends, they just cringe and try to avoid eye contact so that I don’t try to ask them how they go about it. How many of us make it a priority and why is it so difficult?
So this is what I think self-love should be, or at least my definition of the word.
While self-love is pampering yourself because we all love a new pair of shoes, it is also complete and utter ‘love for’ and ‘acceptance of’ yourself, and I’m talking your WHOLE self.
Every fat role, every ugly toe nail, every underarm hair, the whole shebang. More so, I also believe that self-love is being honest with yourself about the thoughts in your mind – yes I’m especially talking about the over-thinkers – and the choices you make. Then putting a plan in action to take on new choices that truly reflect your self-worth. Do you remember as a child, when your hurt yourself, or something went wrong and your mom would come hug you and tell you everything is okay. It was warm and caring, non-judgemental, understanding, it felt secure, it felt like home – this is true love, so why aren’t we treating ourselves this way?
Sadly, sometimes it takes a very painful journey to learn how to love ourselves completely. Even then, we often need to remind ourselves that we are valuable, important, beautiful and amazing. I am that such person, I abandoned myself about 5 years ago. You see society had labelled me as a Ninja, a perfectionist, a high-achiever and someone who could do it all. So when I couldn’t, or was lagging behind because of pure exhaustion, and wasn’t achieving or being what I thought I should be, I was incredibly hard on myself. I had a dreaded inner voice that would go on the attack and start criticising on how I should be doing better, and so I would! Then I fell sick, my body quit, it gave up on me. When I sat in front of the doctor being diagnosed with an Autoimmune disease that I would spend the rest of my life fighting, my heart literally broke when he said, “You do realise you did this to yourself?”. I don’t remember much of what he said after that, as my mind switched off and I literally was daydreaming of how I gave this doctor a karate kick to the throat. You would think that would’ve started the self-love journey, but instead I went into a deep dark hole of hating myself for not being able to live up to standards and letting myself down. I went through 4 years of my body fighting itself, exhaustion, immense pain, low dose chemotherapy and me going at myself for not being able to keep up. Then it all changed, I had the opportunity of having Stem Cell Transplants done that were a complete success. Although my disease is not cured, the damage is reversed and I officially have a second chance in life. Yep, you guessed it, this is where my journey of figuring out self-love started.
Second chances made me start looking after myself better, I ate better, started exercising again, made time for myself to read and I meditated daily. When it came to love, I was the Queen of love. Love for my family, love for my friends, love for my colleagues, love for perfect strangers, but love my myself was possibly not as good as it should be. I was recently told that I am not present in my own life, that I am not working on my own construction site but rather focusing on getting a high-rise buildings put up on other people’s sites. I had another person say that I cannot keep going through life riding other people’s bicycles, while mine is left behind on the side of the road. The universe sent me these beautiful souls as guidance and keeps urging me to start taking the correct path, following my own dreams and living my own life. I am the type that loves so much that I would give all of myself for those around me. I focus so much on making sure others lives are okay, that I completely neglect myself. I am only just coming to terms with this and really looking within to try realise how to change it. Because I care so much about others, it is taking me a while to understand that no one else is as interested in me, my safety, my health, my happiness, more than what I am. Only I know what makes me happy, or hurts me, only I can make better choices, only I can grow. So to get to the point of complete self-love, these are the steps I now choose to follow.
Choose yourself – You are the only person that can control your happiness. Learn to say the dreaded “no” when it does not serve you. Do not feel guilty afterwards. Set your boundaries and stick to them. You are not a doormat and only you can allow yourself to be treated like one.
Start working on your own construction site. Take a step back and look at the one you are working on, is it meant for you? Is it the life you would like to live? Why if we only have ONE life, on average 70 years, are we not following our passions, living a life that makes us happy. It is possible to wake up in the morning and be truly excited and happy about the day ahead, but you will only have this once you are living the life that was meant for you.
Look after the vessel that you were given when you were born. Our bodies, inclusive of our mind need us to eat well, exercise, get enough sleep, meditate and just be lazy without the guilt.
Acceptance – YES FULL ACCEPTANCE. You are not perfect and you don’t need to be. You will have good days and you will have bad days. As you have good traits and bad traits. Love and accept the role that everything plays to bring you equilibrium.
Stop living in the past as you cannot change it. Stop obsessing about the future as you cannot control it and just live in the now. Practice mindfulness.
Listen to your gut!
Take accountability and work on improvement. You cannot blame others for where you are in your life. Look at where you want to be and start putting that all in place. Visualisation is an amazing tool. Watch out for that inner voice though, and always focus on healthy self-talk. Stop blaming your childhood and the “old people” in your life for dysfunctional behaviour. You are the only one that can change that. Seek out a life coach, shrink or whatever floats your boat, and start working on improvement.
Lastly, and this is the hardest one for me. Stop putting yourself in the box that society wants you to be in. Rip off the labels. You can be exactly who you want to be, whether it is a housewife that blogs on the side, or a high-ranking army official. Take the time to really focus on what type of life you want. Try not to let fear or anxiety of the unknown or not being in control, step in. Keep the over-thinking left brain in check. Once you find true self-love, and start living the life of your dreams, everything magically falls in place.
In the famous words of William Shakespeare,
“To thine self be true” and enjoy your lifelong romance with yourself"
From my plate to yours in love.
Guest Writer - Anthea Mans of The Kitchen Reboot
Read more of her work - Anthea's Website
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