One of the first subjects I completed in the Graduate Diploma of Wellness was Wellness and Lifestyle. In the very first chapter of our textbook, the Wellness Workbook by Travis and Ryan, “Wellness, Self-Responsibility and Love”, I kept going back to reflect on Part 1.12 “Love and Wellness.”
What stood out the most were these statements: “To love yourself is to love your body, your emotions, your intelligence, your spiritual nature. It is to trust, accept, understand and forgive yourself.”
Why do these words resonate so much for me? I realized it has been a daily battle for the majority of my teen to adult life, to love myself, to love any part of myself. I have struggled with low self-esteem that stems back to bullying from my high school days, as well as body image issues relating to recurring weight gain. I tend to love myself only fleetingly and would then quickly revert to listening to the negative voices in my head telling me I'm not worthy of this love.
One of the reasons I started Overall Wellness was to work on myself first and foremost and help others in the process. I wanted to be accountable and in a way force myself to look internally and to dig deep – and as taxing as this is, it has led to some deep self-reflection. I have come to realize that by giving myself some quality time, I've actually started to "learn" how to love myself, my actions, my strengths, and even my own spirituality. I'm relearning how to appreciate who I am, where I am and all that I have achieved. The biggest hurdles have been learning to trust, accept and forgive myself - to realize that I am human, I've made mistakes and to look upon them as experiences to learn from, not to carry the guilt forever, which serves no purpose other than to make me feel miserable.
I now make a conscious effort to add two items to my daily wellness tasks, moments of gratitude for my multiple blessings and appreciation for my daily achievements, no matter how small.
I pledge to give myself time to enjoy each moment, try to exercise mindfulness with every task and not dwell upon things that don't go to plan. I will not seek anyone's validation for who I am or how I look or the choices I make.
I somehow feel lighter, empowered and confident that the journey to wellness is within my grasp and achievable. But I need to also remember that maintenance is the key to success.
Are you making time in your day to love yourself? How often do you reflect and appreciate your achievements? Start with me right now and watch how these adjustments, even small ones, can impact on your self-esteem and wellbeing. I would love to hear your experiences and feedback.