My Self-Love Journey

The lessons I learnt from my “self-love” challenge

This is a story about a challenge that changed my life – I know, not cliche at all right?

The challenge started when Hannah and I decided to run our first Girls Weekenz workshop. We had no idea what to expect we just set the intention to: give it a go, have fun and hopefully help other girls. But then, yes, the unthinkable happened, the silly challenge changed my life. And here is why I think it could change yours too.

But before we skip forward, I need to take you back. Back to when it all started.

The challenge started with two girls eating koftas in bed, talking very openly about life, love and our fears. Talking about the things we want to do, the things that scare us and the things that stop us from achieving our dreams and we landed on the idea of doing a self-love workshop.

Oh yes, I have a business called Girls Weekenz and we run wellness retreat for girls in New Zealand. Mainly because we believe life to live the life of your dreams, you need to step out of your comfortable zone by trying new things, exploring the nature and connecting with yourself and others.

So, back to my story. The idea of running a workshop was overwhelming, felt near impossible and the topic, well… We had our doubts about how it would go down. But we decided to put all that aside, take Nike’s advice and – just do it.

On one hand, we thought, “this won’t work, don’t be silly, drop it”. But we both knew the topic was important and didn’t get the attention it deserved! We knew that most of us don’t say “I love you” to ourselves (seriously, when is the last time you said that?).  Not only that, we knew people often did the opposite, talking critically, and harshly to themselves.

We also knew that most of us are almost always waiting for someone else to love us. The reality is: we end up relying so heavily on other people for love, we neglect ourselves and our needs.

Fast forward, the workshop was a tremendous success. The most honest, amazing girls came, shared their journeys, were vulnerable and we all learnt from each other. We had big names sponsor us because they too thought self- love was an important topic. We also had a lot of fun in the process.

The self-love challenge…

To make sure the girls would take the ideas and tools into their busy lives, we asked them to set their own self-love challenge. To set lead by example, Hannah and I set ourselves a simple self-love challenge.

For 21 days we would do 21 little acts of self-love. I printed the challenge, stuck it to my wall and tried everyday to do the challenge and post it to the FB group.

The thing with a self-love challenge is if you slip up- (oh no I didn’t buy myself flowers today), you simply show yourself some more love the next day. It’s a win/win.

But what happened next, I did not expect. I noticed more and more, that everyday I not only did an activity on the chart, I was doing multiple!

I noticed that because of the challenge when I treated myself unkindly, I stopped and repeated: the mantra self-love, self-love, self-love. Then I asked myself: would I have said that to my best friend? The answer was almost always no. Then I would ask myself for the best advice, and I would do that.

So that’s what I did. I am doing. I want to be doing.

Lessons learnt

The lesson I learnt is both simple but I found it to be immensely profound:  I will always be there for myself. No matter what. I am my best friend. No matter how many amazing friends I have. I belong to myself and that means that I will always speak my truth. No matter what or when. I will always be kind to myself because I deserve kindness.

That means stopping when I am running too fast and need to take a breath. That means saying no to someone that I really want to hang-out with but I really need some alone time (I am an introvert-extrovert). That means having 8 hours sleep – even though I have so much work. Or just simply going to yoga on my lunch break (and not feeling guilty or bad about it).

This self-love journey has changed my life and how I do things. Coincidently, my work is going great, the business is going amazing, I am laughing more, and most importantly: I am content.

Self-love has allowed me to be content and happy with myself and where I am at. I am not grieving about my past. I am not letting my story define who I am. I am not feeling alone around people anymore (have you ever had that feeling?).

I’ve realised that: I am whole.

Because I have me. I love Maria and who she is. I trust her to follow her intuition and to always, hold my own hand and guide me through. Because as long as I know how to love myself, I know I will be alright.

I really hope you stop and reflect and pay attention to how you talk to the most important person if your life. I hope you give yourself all the love you deserve. Because I might not know you, but I know you matter. Your story matters and you have a huge impact to have on this universe.

So please, do yourself a favour: tell yourself how much you love you. Tell yourself how much of a beautiful human being you are, with all your flaws and imperfections. Tell yourself how perfect you are and that you are your best friend.

Because you matter. I matter. We matter.

If you want to know more about the self-love challenge and our workshops please click here

If you want to share your self-love story, please contact me on dudaselva@gmail.com

I wrote this post originally for Girls Weekenz Wellbeing Blog

Sending lots and lots of love,

Maria

How the lobster grows

With all the things I could share with you, I’ve decided to share with you, my take away from the video: how the lobster grows.

But before we got ahead, I would like you to think about a traumatic event in your life.

Go on, don’t be shy. Think about something painful that has happened to you. Something that made you cry. Something that at that point in time, you thought ‘oh crap I am not too sure if I can make it’.

I know, I know. A bit of a strange way to start a blog post, isn’t it? Even more so, a bit of a strange topic. But let’s face it, you might know by now that I am a strange person. And if you don’t know me, nice to meet you, I am a weirdo.

But the real question here is: aren’t you so excited to find out how the lobster grows, with great detail?

“Nah, not really”. Let’s face it, who cares about how the lobster grows. To be fair, I didn’t care myself.

But then, last year, when I was finally dealing with the fact my uncle sexually abused me when I was a young child to teenage years, that is when I saw this video. And has changed my life.

But, before I go on about what the video is about, I will actually explain how the lobster grows, because it is important for the context here. And then I will tell you what I’ve learnt from this message and what you can learn from this too.

Lobsters are soft animals with a very rigid shell. And in order for the lobster to grow, at various stages of its life, it must molt. In other words, it has to get rid of its old shell and form a new one.

The key part is: when the lobster grows, the soft part of the animal of course, touches this rigid shell and guess what? It is painful. Because it is so painful for them, the have to change the shell to a bigger one.

This process, of changing its shell, takes about 20-30 minutes. And, during this process, and here is another very important lesson, the lobster is vulnerable. Its vulnerable to be another animal food.

The video reckons, that, if the lobster were a human being, when he felt the pain, he would go to the doctors and the doctor, would give him an anti depressant. The anti depressant would make him numb, and therefore, he would never go under the rocks and make a bigger shell.

The message of the video, and of this post is very simple: you must feel the pain to be able to grow. If you never felt the pain, you would never do something about to change your life.

Therefore, if you never felt the pain of a traumatic event, you would never be able to grow.

I want you to think about that traumatic time of life again. And be honest with yourself:

Could you say that that event made who you are now? Could you say, that and many other traumatic events built you? Made you stronger?

I can say that. And trust me, my life has not been unicorns and butterflies.

Of course, at the time, I didn’t think, “wow, what a fantastic time of growth”. God no. If you saw me last year, or even the start of this year, I looked like mess and I cried a lot.

But the truth is: I’ve grown so much since then. And it is most likely that you did too.

What can you take away from this post? That maybe you could allow yourself to be seen. Really seen. Take the mask off.

That maybe, you could be willing to invest in a relationship that may, or may not, work out. Be willing to say “I love you” first. Be willing to do that thing, that you always wanted to do but you always been afraid of. Because, if all goes wrong and you are feeling the pain. You know for sure, you are growing.

And you are building a better and stronger version of yourself.

Like a lobster.

As C.S Lewis said: “Experience is a brutal teacher, but you learn. My God, you learn”.

That is me.

Watch the video ‘how do Lobsters grow?‘:

how the lobster grow video

 

If you want to know more about my project, We are someone, of opening a conversation about sexual abuse, check out www.wearesomeone.com

xx

Maria Selva