Learning to love ALL of ourselves is the greatest and most positive contribution we can make to ourselves, our loved ones, all beings and to the planet at large.
When we fill ourselves up and discover how loveable we are, we become vessels of love. We naturally extend this love through our words, actions and how we show up in the world to others.
In contrast, when we see ourselves as ‘not enough’, which stems from judgement, we cannot hope to see others through a different lens.
I have recently written a book called The Dawn of Hope – one woman’s path back to Love, so the topic is one dear to my heart. Why? Because for two decades I suffered from bulimia, the manifestation of which was born from a deep self-loathing. It has certainly been quite a process moving from here to knowing and feeling a deep sense of love for myself but it is possible.
So how can we learn to love ourselves? It is a process or a path made up of choices and actions – different ones to what most of us are familiar with. And it really begins when we recognise and acknowledge exactly where we are at and how we feel about ourselves. Shifting our focus from what’s going on externally to what is happening within.
For me it began with the recognition that despite what I thought I needed to fix or change (which was someone and something else) for me to feel ok about life, it was my relationship with me that needed to heal. It was this complete shift in perception that fuelled me down this path back to love.
So the simplest way to begin changing this relationship, began by reconnecting with my inner child. This was instrumental because as this relationship blossomed over time, it became easier to be kind and more self-compassionate with myself as a mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend.
I believe this IS the foundation of self-love.
Over time I began to understand that any suffering or pain I was experiencing was only a reflection of how little or much love I was extending to myself. And it was always easier to show a young, innocent child the love I may have withheld from my adult self.
With this kinder and softer approach towards myself, I naturally became more forgiving. I recognised the harsh, critical judge who had taken up so much space in my head and slowly began to question whether what I heard was true. I understood she had tried to keep me safe from making any more f*** ups in life but instead, was holding me back and being outright mean. Over time I began to forgive myself more and more for all of my apparent wrongdoings and this allowed me to make peace with much of my past but more importantly, how I felt about me.
As I began to fully embody self-compassion and self-forgiveness, the limiting patterns of perfectionism and comparing myself (of which I had been servant to!), slowly began to change. The old, outdated ways of speaking and acting towards myself were replaced with new healthy and more loving words and actions.
I was becoming softer with myself and as I continued to reinforce this new way of being, it became more and more familiar.
What I now is that self-love is not a destination we hope to reach but a continual process which is made up of choices to be loving towards ourselves. How this looks for me is choosing to meditate daily; speaking to myself gently and kindly, reading books and eating food that nourish my mind and body and surrounding myself with people that love and uplift me.
There is so much magic and beauty that awaits each of us when we learn how to love and accept ourselves for the perfectly imperfect beings that we are. And I wish this for every woman, man and child whom I meet!
Lisa’s recently released first book, her memoir, The Dawn of Hope is available at all good bookstores for RRP $24.95 or directly via Lisa’s website at http://www.lisawinneke.com.au/dawn-of-hope/
More about Lisa Winneke
Lisa Winneke is a transformational speaker, wellness workshop facilitator and mentor acknowledged for her honesty, compassion and vulnerability. Her ability to engage and inspire groups and individuals to transcend their current realities comes from a place of true understanding of the work required to set yourself free from the limitations that our minds have conditioned us to believe is true.
Having suffered from anxiety and depression for over 20 years, Lisa knows only too well that ALL change should begin and end with oneself; it’s the inner work that creates profound change. Becoming more aware of our feelings, and mindfully changing our thoughts and actions we start to put the pieces into place again to live our lives from that place of wholeness.