Sunday, October 27, 2013

Self Love

pic from here
 I'm not often easy in my own skin. I worry, too much, about what other people think, about measuring up, about being 'enough'. I see challenges and spurs where there are none. I live out of feelings of unworthiness, inferiority. I do things for the wrong reasons - to change myself, to become better, thinner, more acceptable - but always for others, for some imagined expectation that I take on and feed until it becomes my own, very unreasonable expectation of who I should be, what I should be, what I should be doing.

I get prickly. Defensive. I imagine that I am found wanting by others and even though this is only a reflection of the fact that I find myself wanting, I rage against it. Even though I am unable to accept myself, I rail and cry when I think others do not accept me. I confront it, but in the way that one may attack an intruder - hit out now, ask questions later. My wall of injustice and anger and paranoia.

The things I love become weapons that I use against myself. I love to run, and then, one day, I find that my inner voice has been whispering, you're not fast enough, you don't go far enough, you don't push hard enough, and running is no longer what I love, but becomes another form of self flagellation. I try to make peace with my body, this vessel of life that has carried me along, borne my children, my able body that is a gift and a beautiful thing, and there's that voice again, that seductive serpent voice telling me you're too fat, you're too soft, you will never be beautiful, so what's the use in trying? It whispers you are too loud, too needy, too emotional. Things I would never whisper to my children as I tuck them into bed at night, become the unrelenting words I speak to myself instead.

I am climbing out of this hole. It's getting a bit dark in here, a bit hard to breathe. I've climbed out of holes before and I know I will have to again - these holes, they just keep coming, but every one is a road map and I remember the landmarks. I know the way out, it's a hard path speckled with reflection, space and time, with a bit of self love thrown in - repeated over and over, until it begins to feel natural.

I'm running again. I don't particularly care how far or for how long. I run until the mantra I am repeating over and over in my head, there's no room for others here. It's the earth, the wind and me stops being a phrase and starts just being. I'm also going to yoga. Not let's do yoga then do latte yoga, but honest, trackpants and kaftans and old Pink Floyd tshirts yoga, where we sit in a circle and feel welcome and even snore quietly during meditation, if that's our thing. I like it. I can't touch my toes, but if I try really hard, I can touch the cobwebby parts of my soul, and that feels nice.

I box, too, and do karate, and enjoy the power in these sports, the sweat and the sore muscles and the moment where my fist hits something, hard. But it's not all about exercise, and it's definitely not about not being enough. I'm learning to do what I enjoy, and enjoy what I do. Just because. I'm learning that if I eat some chocolate today, I don't have to hate myself tomorrow. If I can't face cleaning the bathroom today, it will still be there tomorrow. And the day after. And that's quite okay.

I say nice things to myself, like I am tucking myself into bed. Sometimes, it's hard, it's clumsy and I don't entirely believe myself. But I can feel my prickly edges softening. I can feel myself unfurling, my fists unclenching, my scowl fading. I'm learning to breathe, six counts in six counts out, slowly, mindfully, calmly. I start to feel loved, by myself first and foremost, and it's good.


  1. Good on you! Good on you. I think we all self flaggeate to one degree or another. Mine is second guessing and self doubt along with the how terrible I am run. Mine is about being a crap mum or heartless. I guess we all have our areas of self we disike.
    I had a boss once who once said that the self given negative talk is the most destructive thing we can do to ourselves. We would never berate someone else like we do ourselves and every time I get into a mind tirade against mysef I remember that. I don't always stop but I like to think I berate a little less remembering her words.
    I know you know how capable and beautiful you are. Beauty is also utterly relative anyway and what one person sees as not so great, another sees as beautiful. I bet your husband wouldn't see you as anything less than beautiful, both inside and out. And your kids would completely agree. :)
    Sending a huge hug your way. Take heart my friend and stay strong. Keep climbing out of that hole. xx

    1. Your old boss is right, and it really does make a difference, remembering that! I think us women are our own worst critics, and you're so right, we all have our insecurities. It's no fun, though, is it??
      Thanks for the encouragement, Jess. I'm definitely getting there :)

  2. I read recently that in particular, women can be quite good at indulging themselves, but pretty hopeless at nurturing themselves!! I was so offended when I read this...but it forced me to reflect and realise that there was indeed some truth in at, at least in my own life. it sounds like you are really thinking about the things you can do for your self in order nurture and not just indulge your body, mind and spirit. that takes a lot of creativity, wisdom, self reflection, and courage to do that Nic, so go you!!!! hope the dark whole isn't too dark at the mo. lotsa love and prayers, Mezz xoxo

    1. Thanks, Mezz. Indulging vs nurturing, that's a really good way of thinking about it. I like it. The hole is getting smaller, not such a bad one after all. I think the sunny weather helps ;) Looking fwd to reading the mag!!

  3. Wonderful post. Thank you.
    Wishing you well, now and in future, for those times when you need to get out of one of those holes ... and for staying out of them in the first place!

    I really love your blog and what you're trying to do. Thank you for sharing :)

    1. Thanks, Liz, for popping in and leaving a comment, and reading along, and for your well wishes xxx


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