Feb 9, 2016

This morning I bought myself roses. Beautiful pink expensive long stem roses.When the woman in the shop told me they cost £2.50 a stem I hesitated, I started to look around the shop and even looked in the ‘sale bin’ of old 1 week old flowers for £5 a bunch.  They were wilting but my head was saying ‘hey Nick, they’re still pink, and they’re cheap’.I nearly bought them, but luckily came to my senses at the checkout and remembered that I was there to do something loving for myself.  That I was buying these roses for me as a gift, as a moment of self-pampering, as an expression of self-love.  So I dropped the wilting old cheap flowers (well not literally dropped) and bought 5 long step pink beautiful roses.  The kind that prince charming would have bought her princess in all the disney cartoons.  The kind that me as a teenage girl dreamed my boyfriend would show up with at my school and present them to me in front of everyone.  Yup! That kind. I bought them for myself.  And I couldn’t stop smiling all the way home.And I feel it now, as I write this, looking over at my beautiful roses.  I feel like I’ve been wooed, swept of my feet, pampered.  And I have………. by myself!! And I can tell you… it feels bloody good!Most of my early life was spent searching for love.   I remember being 7 or 8 years old and playing at my best-friends house.  I would be the princess and she would be the film director (ha ha, we were pretty strange) and we would be making a movie where I found my prince who falls madly in love with me and we would live happily ever after.  I remember smooching my pillow for as many as 10 takes, maybe more!! Me and that pillow prince were really in love!And then I remember later on in my teens, when things weren’t as innocent or pretty, desperately searching and waiting and wanting and longing for that amazing perfect guy that was going to come into my life and everything would be better.  It was no different to me wanting to find the perfect diet and be the perfect weight or find that perfect job or ride the perfect high  It didn’t matter what the ‘thing’ was I was searching for or waiting for or longing for, really in black and white terms I was really searching for love.  I was searching for something other than myself, something outside of myself, to make everything feel better.  To make me feel loved and whole and good and worthy.Love… it’s that amazing feeling when we finally meet ‘the one’ who swoops into our lives and makes us feel amazing and then suddenly everything in life is better and everything we struggled with in ourselves is gone.  That’s love right?I’m afraid to say… it is not.That is the feeling of falling in love… which is wonderful… which effects us on all levels like jelly… but this comes and then it goes and if you stay together long enough it can transform into something else, something more grounding, something more ‘every day’, dare I say something more real, and like always you are still left with yourself.It took me a long time to really begin to learn that this thing called love had to come from the inside out first.  It had to come from me. That the only thing that was capable of rescuing me or making me feel more whole and more loveable was myself.  And the more I focus on this the more capable I am of really loving someone else and letting someone else love me.I can honestly say, with all my heart, the ONLY thing that really began to heal my addictions, my eating disorders, my binging, my failed relationships, my feelings of emptiness and loneliness (I think you get the point) was when I finally made the commitment to putting loving myself at the TOP OF THE LIST.  I can often forget my commitment and go through phases in my life where I lose my focus, but thankfully I almost always remember, re-group and get back on track.I am married now which I have never been before…. and wow is it a new kind of journey!  It is and has become one of the most beautiful, challenging, real, confronting and deep journeys I have ever embarked on…. besides motherhood that is (which is a whole other post to write!).And for the first time in my life I feel that I am really beginning to learn what love really means.  Am I capable of loving someone exactly as they are with no judgement?  Am I capable of loving someone with complete freedom and no expectations?  Am I capable of loving someone through sickness and in health, ups and down, good times and bad?The real question I should ask first is am I capable of loving myself this way?? If I can say yes to that I’m pretty sure I can say yes to the other.After many years with my husband, it is reminded to me more and more that my husband is not my prince (even though he is pretty damn dashing), nor is he capable and should not be made responsible for being the one to fix me, complete me or make me feel loved.  Of course we share love and love should be at the centre point of everything we do together and for each other as a partnership in our lives, but alongside this relationship I still need to be working on my relationship with myself….. which is the most intimate, important and pivotal one I will ever have in my lifetime.  And this is where I need to go first and foremost before I am capable of anything else.We all the know the saying ‘Put the oxygen mask on yourself first….” well that is so true!It has become common knowledge in our family that if I go down, the whole family goes down.  Meaning if I stop taking care of myself, if I stop being loving and nourishing and nurturing to myself then I begin to lose the ability to love my husband and be loving to my daughter.  And it is a repeated ongoing life lesson I think for so many of us.A teacher once told me that I should only really expect about 20% – 30% of my needs to be met by my partner and the rest I seek elsewhere…. from friends, from myself, teachers and from spirit.  But society still seems to want to push on us that there is someone out there that is the answer, that there is someone out there that should be able to meet all our needs and be the answer to all our prayers.But this is so disempowering… it is also incredibly co-dependant and not realistic.Love ourselves first.  Let’s sweep ourselves off our own feet and then when love comes into our lives from others, let that be such a beautiful added extra gift!!! Usually they do come hand in hand.  The more I took responsibility for myself and began to really feel loved by myself from the inside the the more love I attracted and I attract into my life.Love ourselves like we want to be loved.So as we step towards Valentines Day this weekend, remember this…. of course enjoy being romantic and sharing love with the loved ones in your life, but why not also be madly in love with yourself.  Do something to sweep yourself off your own feet this week.  Do for you what you only dream of others to do for you and then if someone else does it for you as well then BONUS!!Each one of us has such a huge capacity to feel, be and become love.  But it has to come from the inside out first.  This is a way that will build real self-worth, self-esteem and deep healing.So let’s knock ourselves out with loving ourselves and watch the beautiful healing miracles begin to happen as a result.Here are some amazing practices and tools I have used throughout my life to really begin to heal the relationship with myself and pamper myself with love.  I hope you find them as useful as I have/do:

1. Take yourself on dates:

I’m serious!  Make sure you set a date and time in your diary and in your life where you are scheduled to take yourself out on a date.  Just you.  No one else is allowed to gate crash!!And take yourself wherever you really want to go!  In the past I have taken myself to the movies, to some beautiful gardens, to the zoo, to my favourite coffee shop, to the flower market, to my favourite haberdashery shops where there is sequins and sparkly things everywhere.  Whatever it is that your heart really wants to do then take yourself there.Notice how much you may resist this.  Notice how much you want to bring someone else along to gatecrash.  And think how you would feel if you were scheduled to go on a date with a boyfriend and someone gatecrashes.  Don’t cancel on you and stand yourself up!! Take yourself out and love it!!

2. Buy yourself a small gift/treat at least once every 2 weeks:

If you are a girl and love flowers then buy yourself a bunch of flowers at least once every 2 weeks.  If you are a guy then whatever it is you love.  You don’t need to spend much, it could just be £5 or even a few pounds.  But it should feel like a gift, an expression of self-gratitude and self-appreciation.  Trust me – it feels good!

3. Tell yourself you love yourself:

Are you someone that feels disappointment when the boyfriend, partner or people in your life don’t tell you they love you enough?  Well tell yourself it!  Everytime you look in the mirror tell yourself it.  Write it down, post it on your mirror, look into your own eyes and tell yourself repeatedly.  And mean it, from the heart.  And if you can’t mean it then that’s ok too.  It will come.  Gently, have compassion.Remember…. Do we take ourselves to love ourselves In sickness and in health….through thick and thin, ups and downs, good times and bad… can you love yourself?Let our answer be….. I DO.Have the most beautiful, romantic, love filled week my lovelies.  I will leave you with this beautiful poem by Charlie Chaplin.Love Nx“As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is AUTHENTICITY.As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody as I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it RESPECT.As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it MATURITY.As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment, so I could be calm. Today I call it SELF-CONFIDENCE.As I began to love myself I quit steeling my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it SIMPLICITY.As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything the drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism.Today I know it is LOVE OF ONESELF.As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is MODESTY.As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worry about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where EVERYTHING is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it FULFILLMENT.As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But As I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection WISDOM OF THE HEART.We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know THAT IS LIFE!

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