I am going to admit to you. I really struggled with how to open this piece of writing to you all.
When I start writing a blog it is usually instigated by a personal dramatic meltdown. I don’t plan my topics, they just happen and the emotions get my writing juices flowing and off I go releasing all my inner drama using just 26 letters of the alphabet accompanied occasionally (mostly) by a few swear words and a pun here and there. But with this topic, I can’t help my over active brain. There’s so much I want to say and I am struggling to calm the yelling in my head where I want to word vomit everything I think and feel about this topic.
So I am going to start with telling you a story… about my sister.
I have a sister,
Her name is Ana and she is 8 years older than me.
For as long as i can remember my sister has been my second mum & my own personal cheerleader. I am sure most people can relate to her or know someone like her. She’s that person who will always put her hand up to organise or take charge of something, that person who tries to keep everyone happy, that person who thinks of a great idea, and then gives it to someone else, that person who you know has had a shit day and yet will still say “Let’s not talk about me, what about you?!” She’s that person that will not only pick you up from the darkest moments of your life but stay down there with you for a little bit so that you don’t feel so alone.
My sister embodies what a lot of us do. She is the perfect example of someone who pleases others even if it is at the sacrifice of her own happiness. And this way of being escalated once she had her two beautiful children because #mumlife took over and that took everything to a WHOLE new level. My sister kept giving and giving because her brain told her that it would make her feel good, but in reality, her heart was completely numb to pain she kept inflicting on her self.
For those who don’t know I have a tattoo on my left wrist! It’s the Sun, the Moon and the Universe. It’s to represent my mum, my sister and I.
I am the moon, my mum is the universe and of course my sister, my sunshine, is the Sun.
My sunlight was literally turning grey in front of me.
She would say to me “Argh I hate my body, I wish I was as fit as you” and I would say “Why don’t you go the gym then?” And she would reply “Cat, you don’t get it. I don’t have time and if I don’t do this other thing then it won’t get done”
She would see me eat something healthy and say “Argh I wish I could eat as healthy as you” and I would say “Why don’t you meal prep so that you have healthy meals ready?” And she would reply “Cat, you don’t get it. I don’t have time and if I don’t do this other thing then it won’t get done”
She would see images of girls who always had their makeup, hair and nails done and say “God I wish I could just go and do that” and I would say “Why don’t you?”…. Wanna guess what her response was?
This brings me to what I want to talk to you about…
Low self-esteem and lack of self love materialises in different ways and does not always look the same on every person.
It’s a relationship you won’t get out of because you think it’s what you deserve, it’s pleasing others and not saying how you truly feel for fear of rejection, it’s feeling alone in a room full of people, it’s pushing people away because you don’t think they will like you if you let them in, it’s needing to be perfect because you can’t possibly be anything other than that, and most commonly and for my sister, it’s our body and the way we can sometimes hate it.
I see a lot of people walking around out of love with themselves and I feel absolutely helpless. How do you save someone from THEMSELVES when they are suffocating in a society that is telling them what they should or should not be?
I was talking to a young girl the other day and I told her that she should show more love for herself. She turned to me and said “Cat, HOW do I love myself?”
I was lost for words. In that moment not only did I have a thousand things to say at once, but I was mostly lost for words because it blew my mind that someone as gorgeous, talented & healthy as she, did not know how to love herself. And in the same moment – I realised I couldn’t give her one simple answer.
Loving yourself is different for everyone. If you want to know how to love yourself, ask yourself – What do YOU do for those you love? How do YOU show love? For me, it’s acts of service and words of affirmation.
I remember not loving myself (mine materialised in “not-thinking-that-I-was-of-value”) and I lived with that mantra every day. That because I wasn’t of value, it didn’t matter what I wanted. That because I wasn’t of value, no one really wanted to be my friend, that because I wasn’t of value, I didn’t like myself. I grew up in primary school being bullied, being told by girls that they “didn’t want to talk to me today”. So I believed them. It wasn’t until I went on a trip away solo to Europe and met people I had never known before in my life, who had absolutely nothing to gain by telling me positive things about my self that I finally thought “Shit hey, maybe I’m an alright kind of person!”
Don’t get me wrong!!! My family was always telling me how great I was, my close friends were always supporting me, but when you’re numb to the world and lost in the depths of your own self pity – you can’t hear a damn thing!!!!!
Whilst that trip overseas changed my life and sparked something inside of me, I cannot say that THAT was how I learnt to love myself.
Loving yourself is not a one off choice. It’s an active motion. A habit.
I have to work on loving myself every. single. damn. day.
YOU have to work on loving yourself every. single. damn. day.
Think of it like this – How often do you shower to be clean? Do you have a shower on Monday night and think “Wooooo! She’s good till Sunday!!” No. We shower once, twice, even 3 times a day to feel clean.
The same goes for your thoughts.
If the amount of negative thoughts that cross your mind outweigh the positive – then you know you’re not treating yourself in the best way that you know you can. When you constantly put yourself down, your bruising yourself from the inside out. Just because you can’t see the physical repercussions yet, does not mean it doesn’t hurt. When you put yourself last, you start to believe that that is where you belong.
While I can’t tell you exactly how to love yourself, here are a few good starting points.
- Take a moment to sit alone, and forgive yourself for anything you may be un-neccesarily punishing yourself for.
- When you wake up, tell yourself that you are going to have a really freaking good day.
- When you look in the mirror and you think “arghh I look so ugly” tell that voice to BACK THE FUCK OFF.
- After yelling at said voice, tell your self something that you love about yourself. It doesn’t have to be a physical thing. It can be – I love how independent I am, or it can be – I love that I can help people.
- Say No to things you TRULY don’t want to do no matter what people think.
- Say Yes to things you TRULY want to do no matter what people think.
- Stop caring about what other people think.
- If your body is something you want to work on. Make the time to go to the gym, or go for a run or go to a yoga class. You are NOT selfish for wanting this. It is a basic human necessity to be complete body, mind and soul.
TakeMAKE the time to cook for yourself, eat healthy, fuel your body with foods that make you feel powerful and strong.
- Unfollow anything that impacts negatively on your self-esteem on Social Media and instead follow things that motivate you
- Take a bath, or a long shower, wash your hair – pamper yourself!
- If you can’t get out of this numbness – seek help. TALK to someone. Don’t be afraid to open up to someone you trust.
At the end of the day the only person you can NEVER get away from or be taken away from – is yourself. So you have got to be your OWN best friend! You. Complete. YOU. Everyone else is a bonus that we should be ridiculously grateful for.
Love yourself so fiercely that others learn how to love you because you have shown them exactly how it’s done.
And for the record, after seeing a photo of herself in Bali and triggering her into realising how she had let herself down, my sister began to love herself, every day. She is now the happiest I have ever seen her in my entire life and it is evident in how happy not only she is but her family as well. She goes to the gym and rewards herself with nail or hair treatments because she is PROUD of herself. My sister GLOWS from the inside out and I promise you, if you ever cross paths with her, she can brighten your day with a simple smile.
My sun is shining again.