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

Who are you?

Now, if you could close your eyes. Take a deep breath and answer in your head this question: Who are you?

Have another breath and then open your eyes. How was your experience?

Sometimes it is difficult to answer this simple question, right? It seems that who you truly believe yourself to be dictates how you experience yourself and how people think about you. So, let’s say if you think that you are fat or skinny, or maybe you think you are what you eat, like I am a vegetarian or a vegan, that will be your primary experience of yourself. Believing it and thinking it reinforces who you are, or who do you think you are.

But, here is my question for you: is that really who you are? Can you define who you are based on your body size? Can you define who you are based on where you come from? Based on your what you eat or based on your mother tongue?

When you tap into your spirit and find out who you really are, it frees you from being locked into your expectations or societies lame rules. Because you know who you are and you don’t care what other people think about you. Because you know it is only their perspective of life. Because you know the truth about yourself and that is more than enough. And that… That sets you free.

So now, consider the possibility that you are not who you think you are. Who are you?

Well, in basic science class, we learn that all matter – everything – is composed of different combinations of elements. This applies to the human body as well. So, what are you? About 65 percent oxygen, 3 percent nitrogen, 0.25 percent sulphur. Your hair, your eyes, your fluids, your skin, your feet, – and even your fat – are made up of elements. So, in theory, you are just a sack of chemicals! Well, is what you are? A sack of chemicals?

Let me tell you a story. It is the true story of W Mitchell. Mr Mitchell as a young man, he lived life very much like everyone else. But, in one cold night, his life suddenly changed when he had a blazing motorcycle accident. He woke up in the hospital with ⅔ of his body burnt. He not only overcame that but fours years later, Mr Mitchell had a plane crash. This time he woke up in the hospital paralysed from his waist down. Try to imagine his emotional state. Most people, would ask: What now? What do I do now? But hey, not him. He asked: What else do I still have? Am I merely a body or am I something more? How can I contribute to the world?

Today he is a millionaire, a motivational speaker and a business leader. He is also, a living example of what will-power, courage and determination can achieve. But mostly, he is a living example of someone that knows himself. His body might be stuck in a wheelchair, his face might be burned and he might be missing most of his hands, but his spirit, well, his spirit is free.

And this is one of the most empowering things you can know, is that: I am. It’s really all you can know for sure. Everything else it is just a belief, everything else it is just a label; everything else it is just your reaction to fear. And that is it: You are. You exist.

As we believe in whatever labels we tell ourselves to be true, they become true. All of us view the world through our own lens, coloured by the experiences, meanings, and beliefs we’ve accumulated over the years.

So, if you could change your point of view of who you truly are, what would you say now?

The closer you get to answer the question of who you are,  the closer you get to the truth consciousness bliss. You have the choice of not marrying yourself to lame labels like your fat, skinny, vegetarian. In your spirit, you are not of that! You are not your profession or what you do! You simply are!

And tonight, I can tell you this much, no matter who you think you are, you are not that. And neither am I. Who am I?  I am free and I am enough. Who are you?

Maria

Photo: Scott Sinton