What is Self Love and how can you cultivate more of it?

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Self-love is a popular term which took me years to understand the true meaning of. For a long time I wasn’t even aware of my own negative self-talk and always judging myself.  To help you understand the potential that self love can offer you, I’d like to share my story.

Let's rewind to my early 20's - A young woman filled with doubt, insecurities, no confidence and a few self- destructive behaviors. In addition to this, I was also in an unhappy relationship and to put it politely, my boyfriend was a complete jerk.

By my mid 20's I was existing in an overweight body and I understood self-worth to be measured by external beauty. Size zero was trendy and social media was starting to boom. I began a mission to get skinny believing that this would make me beautiful. I hit the gym hard, had a very strict diet, didn't drink alcohol and to be honest, was not much fun. Granted I lost a lot of weight, but I still wasn't truly happy. 5 more lbs I kept telling myself.

At the age of 26 I went to my first yoga class, I was instantly hooked. The physical practice made me feel strong but soft. Yoga gave my mind the opportunity to clear the fog and process my emotions. There was no judgement, I could just simply be me.

For my 30th birthday I planned a massive solo trip to Costa Rica. Calling this my transformation holiday; very aware I hadn't been kind to myself. I wanted to break free, be confident in my own skin and live life.

I didn't end up in Costa Rica (fuck-up by the travel agent). At first I was heartbroken, but I was determined to go away and my sister encouraged me to go to Miami. At first, I was hesitant, Miami isn’t Costa Rica, what about my big transformation? I had my heart set on yoga, beach sunsets and jungle treks. A voice in my head said “Go, everything happens for a reason”.

Miami was epic, it turns out it was National Yoga Week and there were amazing free events on. I overcame many fears, talking to strangers, making friends, going to restaurants by myself, navigating my way around an unknown city, eating sensibly, partying sensibly and simply enjoying my own company. I had finally found happiness in the present moment, the best birthday gift.

Fast forward to Jayne today, an International Yoga Teacher, relaxing on a beach, on a solo adventure in South East Asia, I realise I'm a superhero!

Why? I saved myself. How? I appreciate myself, I found self-worth, seeing my internal beauty and creating a positive mindset. I now know, I am enough. My extraordinary powers? self-love.

This is my story and it might not be the same as yours but if you need saving, save yourself.

Super Man/Woman isn't going to come. Those pills aren't going to take away the pain. That drink won't make your problems disappear. Over eating is just as unhealthy as under eating. Self-pity, creates endless misery to yourself and those around you. Hiding your emotions won’t make you strong. The never-ending shopping trips will just make you broke. Physical and mental neglect will delay your healing process. Being around drama will only bring your mood down. This is ‘self – destructive behavior.

Self – love is coming to terms with your past, to allow peace into your life. You stop chasing external factors to make yourself happy, becoming present in the very moment and having gratitude for what you have. Seeing your beauty within and knowing you are enough

 My call to action:

  1.  Acknowledge your self destructive behaviors and let these go
  2. Become your own Superhero and never stop loving yourself
  3. Our words are powerful, if you find speak negatively to yourself, try imagining your best friend saying those negative things to you. You wouldn’t accept it from them, so do not accepts harmful thoughts from yourself. Speak kindly to yourself.

Tip: It's easy to see a problem/challenge as a reason to be self-destructive. However, these are life lessons and one day you'll be full of gratitude. That's the beauty of struggle. I'm beyond grateful for the travel agent fuck-up. Even if at  the time I was angry and disappointed.

PS  it's also OK to be vulnerable

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Jayne Littler is a qualified yoga teacher and writer from the UK. A yogi since 2009, after becoming fed up of living in an unhealthy body and destructive mind. Jayne fell in love with the teachings and traditions of Yoga and fully immersed herself into the culture.

After spending 8 years within the ICT industry, in 2017 she quit her job to fulfill her dreams and passions. Travelling the world to teach, learn and gain valuable knowledge of Yoga. She now dedicates her time to inspire the world to live a more peaceful, happy and healthy life. 
Mentoring clients on how to create inner strength, cultivate self-love and being happy in the present moment. You can find out more about here over on her facebook page or on Instagram @Jaynefitspo