Tag Archives: Self esteem

Quick tips for when you need a reminder that you’re special

When I took the photo below of two diverging paths, I internally captioned it ‘a metaphor for my life’.

Cliché, I know, especially as it’s not that I have a dilemma forcing me to choose either or – it’s the choice of throwing myself at life and making things happen, or continuing to feel resentful because they’re not.

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Iyanla Vanzant, and I’m sure many others too said, everything you’ve acquired in life so far is a manifestation of what you’ve been able to create with the knowledge you have. If I measure my current situation and accomplishments by those words, I’ve done amazingly well, but I know I was meant for more. What has hindered my success in all areas of my life is fear and damaged self-esteem. Perhaps like me you’ve had the same negative self-talk for so long you feel trapped, and have begun to realise nobody sees you because of it. Who I am in my mind is not the person most people experience, and this is what I’m attempting to address without costly talking therapies – although I remain a staunch advocate of the practice.

“If you look underneath your depression, you’ll find anger. Look under your anger and you’ll find sadness. And under sadness is the root of it all; what’s really masquerading all the while – fear.” Molecules of Emotion by Candace Pert.

The term ‘self-love’ may sound airy and vague, but how much you value yourself governs every thought and therefore every decision you make. However you prefer to term it, the concept can’t be ignored so I guess I’m on a self-love mission of sorts. Millions of other people around the world and I often don’t feel very special so I thought sharing what I’m doing to correct this, would be an ideal starting point.

Reiterate who you are

At times I forget who I am. My motivations, likes, dislikes, values etcetera, all merge into the 50,000 thoughts a day I’m apparently having and the humdrum of working. I love writing everything down (clearly!) so I started a mind-map with a bubble in the middle of an A5 page: ‘Who am I?’ It’s almost a summing up of what makes me ‘me’ – my qualities, interests, and my best bits – make it visible to you on a daily basis.

Be honest

However unfavourable, admit to what you’re feeling and experiencing. Be honest about your behaviour or negative habits because you need to understand the cause to effect the outcome. One of the key things I’ve had to be honest about is jealousy, which is borne from a lack of fulfilment. It sounds awful but it’s a change signal for me. Another is dedication issues. What are yours?

Think back

A lot of the passion I had in my youth has disintegrated. I exist, but I don’t live. However, much of what moves me hasn’t changed, it’s just I no longer, or don’t, do them. So think back to the original source of motivation, the purpose for doing, because remembering and feeling it again can be really helpful.

What do you do? Share some of your self-love practices and tips by commenting below so we can add to this working progress. While you’re at it, watch this TED talk.

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Cherished Imperfection

Imperfection – in things, in people, in places – add character to life. Tell us about an imperfection you cherish.

The words ‘cherish’ and ‘imperfection’, I have to say don’t form much solidarity in my vocabulary. ‘Imperfection’ is usually followed by ‘improve’ and then an attempted radical overhaul of whatever it is that seems to have aroused the mild but fortunately, brief episode of self-loathing. This is coming from the girl who did a critical SWOT analysis of their style – highly methodical with the intention of being practical but at the same time, deeply OTT and another neat acronym, OCD.

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Image taken from: Issuemagazine.wordpress.com

Needless to say, our so-called imperfections rarely go noticed by those who hold any relevance in our lives. I see my mother every day and not yet has she ever commented that my face sometimes looks hormonal (puffy, fat, not safe for viewing) – like now – and whatever society deems imperfect usually becomes the inspiration for something beautiful – my friend, Ayesha Jones, is a wonderful example. But the one weird and wonderful imperfection I’ve grown to respect and admire, and I expect a lot of contorted faces after I declare this… so here it is… – stretch marks.

There I said it. I’m smirking just a little bit, by the way, but how well placed that the sunshine was beaming onto my notepad and illuminating the page when I wrote this. My stretch marks – thread-fine and indent various places across my not-very-curvy body. There was a time during puberty when I too despised them. How unfortunate to have these unsightly lines that not even cocoa butter seemed to erase? Breaking out southwards towards my ankles their distinctive tread mark made me self-conscious and weary of wearing my gym skirt. What if the boys laughed at these tears in my skin? Totally rebellious, when they couldn’t be contained by my calves anymore they snaked their way to the backs of my thighs, then dispersed in opposite directions around my hips without apology or warning. An invasion of the worst kind.

Powerless to what mother nature had in store for me and lots of Google ‘How to’ searches later, I think quite simply, I gave up. It wasn’t a huge moment of enlightenment looking at myself in the mirror and hugging my war-town hips but as a woman who appreciates the female form, I started to embrace my stretch marks for what they truly were. Signs of growth and feminine development. I clung onto every line as a display of my coming-of-age; not something to complain about but to celebrate. To look down now they’ve pretty much  vanished away but when they return again as reminders of a child, I’ll adore them even more then, than I do now.

What are some of your most cherished imperfections? Please let some be as wacky as mine….