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The love stories we tell…

Self love training and love stories

I just signed up to a 40 day self love challenge – Choosing Me before We – and the first week explores the love stories we tell ourselves. It got me thinking…

So I talk about self love regularly in my blogs. Bee Sensual is about honest, natural skincare that inspires you to take time to be kind and gentle to yourself when you lovingly apply the products to your face and body. I talk about being conscious of focusing on the good bits – the parts we like. About coming closer and closer to that place where we can love ourselves and see our own beauty regardless of what we look like. Regardless of whether or not our skin is flawless like that model on the front cover of magazines we walk past at the checkout, have on our coffee table at home, or pick up in the Dr’s waiting room.

It’s so easy to compare. I get it! Not only that, but it’s been years and years of these subtle trainings picked up from parents, family, society, media, school etc. The love stories that we absorb. What we’re meant to look like. How to be beautiful, how to body-image-bee-sensualbe sexy, how to be lovable. All implying that we’re not those things right here and right now.

So in case you’re wondering, I still look in the mirror and see flaws. I see creases in the skin around my eyes or blemishes on my cheeks or freckles in random places. And then sometimes I wish that they weren’t there. The only difference is I am very aware of doing it now. It’s no longer an unconscious conversation of discontent. I’m aware of when it happens and then I steer the internal conversation towards the sparkle in my eyes. I tell myself I’m beautiful and worthy anyway.

Fake it till you make it right? 😉

Back to the love story training…

So I began the course this week, and it turns out it’s more challenging than I expected. It’s supposed to be I realise, but I just thought I had a fairly good grasp on the whole self love thing and that it would be relatively easy. Turns out there’s plenty of room for me to grow here! I know, we’re always evolving more into our own goodness…it’s about the journey after all. Just good to have a reminder!

love-stories-bee-sensualOne of the challenges in the first week is to look at all the love stories that we’ve picked up through our life and that we tell ourselves, either consciously or unconsciously. Stories that may not be so helpful or conducive to really receiving or giving love from/to ourselves or others. Maybe it’s that we have to look a certain way to receive love. Or that we have to be a certain way in the world, with a particular purpose, to be worthy of love. Perhaps it’s that once someone else loves you, then you will be happy. Then you will be able to love yourself?

The next step is to get down and personal with the mirror. You look yourself in the eyes and tell the stories that you’ve been telling yourself. It’s pretty intense, but good! Lastly you tell the love story you’d like to feel is possible with yourself and others by the end of the 40 days. Not a dreamy fantasy one, but one that feels really real and grounded in love. It’s interesting what comes up telling these love stories, but also holding eye contact with yourself for a few minutes!

Can you think of any love stories that you might be telling yourself, that you learned somewhere, that may be hindering your own journey of love – with yourself or others?

Feel More Beautiful: 3 simple tips to increase self love and beauty

Are you tired of looking in the mirror and believing that you are not beautiful enough? Wishing you were more beautiful? Picking on all the things that you want to be different? The wrinkles, the scar, the freckles, your teeth, your lips, love handles, tummy, legs…the list goes on.

Do you feel your self worth plummet when you compare your hair, legs, eyes, bum… with your work colleague, friend, magazine image or stranger walking down the street?

If only my bum looked like hers…then I’d be happier…

If you counted all the times in a day that you put yourself down in some way, both in your head and verbally, you might get a fright! Do these actions make you feel good about yourself? Feel beautiful?

louise-hay-approving-more-beautifulI dare say the answer is NO.

The following tips are not suddenly going to give you the ‘perfect’ shaped lips or the body that the media tells you you ‘should’ have. However, if you practice them, I can guarantee (from personal experience) that they will increase the amount that you love and accept yourself. And with increased self love comes increased beauty.

3 simple steps to feeling more beautiful:

1. Mirror mirror on the wall…
Every morning when you get up, head over to your mirror and greet yourself. You can say something like good morning [your name], you are beautiful, or good morning beautiful/gorgeous, and then smile at yourself. Or if that feels too hard you could start with a simple good morning and a smile. An acknowledgment of yourself without any criticisms. Let your focus move away from the bed hair, the puffy eyes or a pimple…

2. Comparison is the thief of joy…
Throughout the day, whether online, looking through a magazine, people watching, catching up with friends…notice every time that you compare yourself with others. Try your hardest for the next week to catch yourself every time a comparing thought pops into your head or comparing words want to come out of your mouth. They don’t serve you. Comparison is reinforcing that you believe you are not good enough, not beautiful enough.

When you begin to let comparison go, and instead love yourself for who you are, you will feel an increased lightness in your step and you will feel more worthy. More beautiful.

3. Be gentle with yourself, you are a child of the universe…
As Max Ehrmann says – you have a right to be here. You are worthy of your own love right here and now. Don’t put off self love until you’ve lost those 5kgs or saved x amount of money or started running 5 days a week or got your skin self-worth-wayne-dyer-beautifullooking flawless. Now is the time for self love. Now is the time to realise you are beautiful just as you are, because you are worthy. Just as a child struggles to flourish without love and encouragement, so do you.

We cannot flourish when we are constantly beating ourselves up. So this week, try to choose kindness instead. You may easily think up all the things you can pick on. This is a habit. Start today by retraining your mind. Create another habit where you keep looking out for all the things you’ve done well, for all the good aspects of your body…

No, it’s not necessarily going to be easy. We’ve spent years forming this habit of criticising ourselves, so it’s going to need a bit of conscious effort to change. However you can start today by consciously creating that new habit of kindness. You’ll be surprised at how much more beautiful you feel when you gift yourself with what you deserve…love, kindness, gentleness.

When you begin to increase the love you give to yourself, you become more beautiful, both inside and out.

If you meet someone who has a high level of genuine self love, they radiate beauty. Their smile is bigger and brighter, their eyes have an extra shine and you get the sense that they are completely at home in their own skin.

It doesn’t mean that loving yourself is going to remove wrinkles, or take away that scar that you think makes you look ugly. It means that loving yourself makes you realise that you don’t actually have to change anything in that moment to be beautiful. Physiological changes can happen simply by the chemical reactions that occur when you are happier in yourself…skin tone improves, hormones can become more balanced, body shapes can change and overall health can improve.

I’ve been down the road of self-loathing, beating myself up, wanting to change what I see in the mirror. It only ever brought with it dissatisfaction and sadness. For the last few years I’ve been practicing self love. I’ve been working on changing habits and becoming kinder to myself.

I’m not suddenly magically cured of comparing myself or finding flaws in the mirror. What I do have though is this beautiful gentleness with myself that I never had before. To be able to catch my eye in the mirror and say hello gorgeous and then smile, can improve overwhelm or frustration and make me feel more beautiful in an instant.

Give it a go, what have you got to lose?

In summary:

  1. Greet yourself in the mirror each morning with words that feel comfortable to you.
  2. Quit comparing yourself to others.
  3. Be gentle and kind to yourself – work on creating a new habit of gentleness rather than criticism.

I would love to hear how it goes for you. Please share with me so that I can cheer you on and remind you how awesome you are!

PS: Nourishing your physical body is all part of self love and feeling more beautiful! So think delicious healthy nutrients on the inside and natural skin care products for your beautiful skin on the outside 🙂

The Difference Between Self Love and Arrogance

Words like up yourself, conceited and vain may come to mind when discussing arrogance and self love. That’s what we heard adults saying around us when we were younger, we may have heard our peers say these things and we ourselves may have said that about others.

But remember there is a difference between self love and arrogance.

I believe arrogance is often a mask worn to hide the insecurities running deep inside. Or a cloak to hide the shame or the sadness or our perceived inadequacies. Arrogance is clothing, adornment on the outside to protect or hide the inside.

self-love-nurturesSelf love on the other hand is the veins, the cells, the life blood that courses through our bodies. Self love is a deep contentment and kindness towards ourselves that nourishes our very existence. That brings more joy. That brings more contentment. That heals wounds arrogance may at some point have tried to hide. Self love hides nothing. Self love has nothing to prove. Only a reverence of yourself. An honouring of the greatness that you are.

I don’t want to lose you here, because you think this is a little over the top. You actually are great. You may not believe it, or you may not fully feel it yet, but you are. I know it for sure.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

Max Ehrmann (Desiderata)

Acknowledging your greatness from a place of self love.

Don’t be afraid that by loving yourself more and acknowledging your greatness that you will become arrogant. When you come from a place of arrogance it can often manifest as a struggle to prove your worthiness. In extreme cases others are put down, deflated or found unworthy.

However, when you acknowledge your greatness from a place of self love, you don’t feel the need to prove your worthiness to anyone. Once you have your own sincere approval, you don’t need others to validate your worthiness. You develop an inner contentment that fills up your cup with self love and nourishment. As it fills and overflows, you naturally inspire those around you and lift them up with your joy and happiness. It is infectious in the most beautiful of ways.

Simple self love exercise.

If you have access to a mirror or a great reflective window, please go and loudly proclaim, whisper or silently say to that friendly face looking back at you: I am open to seeing your greatness. You are worthy of my love.

If that feels too hard right now, simply take a deep breath and consciously send that extra burst of oxygen as a gift to yourself. We all have to start somewhere on this journey of self love.

Inner confidence: do you lose your mojo when you compare?

Walking along the beach and I feel the flow of inner confidence…summery, barefoot, in a light singlet dress (that I’ve owned for too many years to even confess to), Millie following beside me and the evening light leaving the sand glowing a creamy pink. I feel good. My hair is tousled from days of sea swimming and it touches my back, just. I’m feeling comfortable in my own skin.

evening-swimming-inner-confidenceI get back to the ute, put my bikini on and run down to the water. I’m the only one swimming and I have the warm(ish) clear ocean to myself. After body surfing a few small waves, dodging some wayward crabs, floating around on my back watching my toes poke out through the water, in the flow mindfulness and sensuality, I go back up and put a towel around me, ready to drive home.

I look in the rear-view mirror. My inner confidence drops.

My hair’s wet and plastered onto my head, I don’t feel the flow anymore and I definitely don’t feel sexy. I run my fingers through my hair to get it a little less flat but by this time I’ve noticed all the freckles that summer has blessed me with and I’m feeling down on my skin now too. In such a swift moment of basking in the glory of the evening I suddenly feel uncomfortable in that same skin that a few minutes earlier I felt fantastically confident in.

Why?

Because I looked in the mirror?

No.

Because of the immediate cascade of thoughts that follow. The comparison. Comparing what I see to what I wish I saw. Comparing what I see to how I felt a few minutes ago when I wasn’t in front of a mirror. Comparing myself to pictures, magazines, movies and other women.

I ponder this thought as I drive back home, noticing that suddenly I’m not watching the light on the trees as closely or how my wet hair feels so refreshing on my neck. I observe myself, wondering how it is that as women we are so quick to judge. So quick to criticise and so quick to wish for something different than what we have.

In my search for deeper self confidence I’ve been practicing shifting this self-deprecating tendency for the last few years.

inner-confidence-self-love-mirrorIn the bathroom at home, ready to rinse off I stand and look at myself in the mirror. I look at my freckles, I look at the marks and fine lines and even though criticism is lurking in my mind, I smile. This is my trick these days. When I start getting a bit heavy on myself I smile at the face in the mirror and then I say something nice like, “You’re awesome” or “Look how much fun you’ve been having”, or I just wink at myself.

After all I am my steadiest companion, I am my oldest, most loyal friend, so to keep that relationship healthy I need to focus on the good and feed it with goodness.

Mindfulness, sensuality, being in the moment, not comparing and having tricks to snap you out of that quickly spiralling self-deprecating voice that surfaces = growing inner confidence, contentment and a good relationship with number one – yourself!

Here’s to the journey!