Stop kissing every frog, hoping he’s a prince.
It had a far more profound effect on me than I thought it would.
“Learning to love yourself, It is the greatest love of all” – Whitney Houston, Greatest Love of All
Learning to love yourself as the imperfect being you are sometimes ain’t easy to do, but do it we must for the sake of healthy personal relationships and our ability to make smart, healthy choices.
After all, if you can’t love and respect yourself, how can you expect others to do it?
And I’m not talking about vanity or narcissism, I’m talking about the kind of self-love that spurs you to make healthy life choices and treat yourself with loving kindness. Experts say developing a healthy level of self-esteem will help us to be less sensitive and more able to accept constructive criticism, express ideas in a calm way, be less dependent and more likely to have our needs met.
We’ll also inevitably be much healthier, happier humans, thus improving and strengthening our personal relationships. Maybe it’s a hard life lesson that comes in your 30s – at least, it was for me.
The minute I truly learned to be comfortable in my own skin and accept and enjoy my singleton status, I met my husband soon after.
Coincidence? I don’t think so. But it was a hard-fought lesson; instead of looking for someone to fill a void – a self-love deficit, if you will, as I had done in the past – I made the conscious decision to really work on developing my inner happiness and self-love on my solo journey.
A clinical psychologist, who wishes to remain anonymous, says our level of self-love is inevitably shaped by childhood upbringing and experiences, as well as personality traits.
“Life can be difficult for someone who has low self-esteem, for example: someone who doesn’t like him/her self, judges him/herself harshly and expects bad things to happen often. Expectations of negativity can be self-fulfilling, so if you anticipate that there will be lots of criticism and stuff-ups in your life, then these things will often happen. You’ll question your own judgement and will consequently make poor decisions that lead to negative outcomes,” she says.
“Conversely, if you have a healthy level of self-esteem, you’ll be able to face the challenges and difficulties that life throws at you in a positive way. You’ll have more faith in your own choices and decisions. You’ll be able to assertively stand up for your rights without being aggressive and without allowing yourself to be taken advantage of or pushed around. You’ll feel comfortable with who you are and like yourself, so you’ll be less susceptible to depression and anxiety.”
But how do we foster such self-love and inner confidence if it’s lacking? Here are some handy expert pointers:
- Be kind to yourself. If something goes wrong, don’t beat yourself up. Ask yourself what you could have done differently and determine to do better next time.
- Avoid people who pull you down – those who are critical and negative towards you. Seek out people whose company you enjoy and in whose presence you feel good about yourself.
- Give yourself positive messages, don’t self-criticise. If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts about yourself, such as: “I’m always messing up, I’ve failed again”, challenge this and change your thinking to something more positive like: “I’ve made a mistake, but what can I learn from this? How can I do better in this situation next time?”
- Learn to see difficulties as problems to be solved rather than catastrophes. Develop your problem-solving skills and you’ll have more confidence in yourself and your ability to cope with difficult situations, thereby developing your self-esteem as a result.
Of course, if this all seems too difficult to achieve on your own, seek help from a professional relationship counsellor or psychologist.
Images, in order, via www.thetruthaboutbeauty.co.uk; www.freespiritgirl.com and pixabay.com.
Life as a single lass can be sexy, wondrous and fun, but occasionally you’re going to meet, date and get naked with people who will insult your beautiful, perfectly imperfect mind, body and soul.
When it comes to sex and the single girl, it’s vital you maintain a strong body image and don’t listen to the haters. “Shake it off,” as T-Swizzle (Taylor Swift) would quite rightly say, and go find someone who not only loves you, just as you are, but a partner who’s secure in themselves and doesn’t feel the need to belittle you. You’ve got the world in the palm of your hand – stay strong –and find a man who raises you up even higher.
Trust me on this – I’m very old – imperfection is beautiful, curves are awesome and true beauty is within – don’t ever let someone sap your soul and take that away. And physical beauty comes in many, many different shapes and sizes. No one is perfect – least of all highly critical people who don’t love you as you are.
I dated many men before I met my husband at 34. Here are some of the nasty body and sex insults I suffered, for your hopeful amusement. They’re actually funny looking back – and, armed with a strong sense of self and my husband’s unconditional love – I can truly see how utterly ridiculous they are. However, verbal slurs in a relationship can really sting and prove damaging if you don’t maintain a healthy sense of humour, self-esteem and self-confidence.
Sex/body shaming insults and an appropriate response
- “You’re not very good at oral sex.” Now, any man who says this to you deserves to get a bit of teeth action, if you ask me. If a man can’t articulate to you what he likes in bed and insults you for good measure, do as I did and kick him to the kerb. The vast majority of men will love what you do downstairs and never ever be so stupid as to complain.
- “You need to lose weight”: In life, you must accept you’re not everyone’s cup of tea. And so what? There are many men out there who love and appreciate healthy curves and voluptuousness and whom will adore you, just as you are. And I’m always highly suspicious of men who don’t like curves. Want a stick figure? Go shag a broom, dickhead.
- “You’re too wet”: Yep, a man once said this to me in bed. For most sane humans, a well-lubricated lady is nothing short of a God-given gift, nay miracle. Learn to love your body and get to know what turns you on and never ever let someone tell you this is a bad thing. What a tosser! Naturally, I sent him packing…
- “Your nipples are too small”: It was beyond me at the time, still is now, why a guy I once seriously dated (and loved) felt the need to utter these stupid and hurtful words. Talk about a brain fart?! Breasts are beautiful – my cup runneth over – why would you ever insult the size of a woman’s nipples!? Don’t ever insult your lover’s body – and the same goes for women. My husband adores my double Ds and they’ve perfectly breastfed two children – again, you’ll probably meet and date overtly critical men who are never happy with what they have. Get rid of them, fast.
- “You just don’t do it for me”: If a man doesn’t find you anything less than a massive turn-on, feel sorry for him and move on as quickly as you (and your hurt pride) can. Some men are so particular about their sexual tastes; they’re looking for the unattainable. But it matters not – there are plenty of men out there who will think you the most perfect goddess who’s ever walked the earth. Go find him, now!
Images via topsecretwomensbusiness.com, iamapowerfulwoman.net, linkedin.com
“He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities.” – Benjamin Franklin.
When was the last time you committed yourself to a lazy Sunday? Kicking back in your pj’s with a good movie is not only relaxing, it also works wonders on our health. Our commitments take up a lot of our time, we work, study, exercise, clean, garden and socialise and then we spend our weekends racing around doing errands. Seven days are never enough to get everything done and as such we’ve opted out of having a rest day. The problem with this is, in the midst of our busy lifestyles, we’re the ones that are left suffering because at the end of the day it’s our bodies that will pay the consequences.
It’s never easy taking a step back from our goals, ambitions, or commitments to say no, I need a day off. It takes a well-adjusted, realised person to understand how essential it is to drop everything and lounge around on the couch. Your life isn’t going anywhere if you sit down for a few hours, but your health just might.
Any physician will tell you that rest is essential for physical health. Any athlete will tell you our bodies need time to repair themselves and regenerate. Even some of mankind’s greatest philosophers would tell us our minds need rest.
Leonardo Da Vinci once said: “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer.” And Ovid, the Roman poet, said, “Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”
Our muscles need time to repair themselves so they can strengthen, our minds need time to relax if we want to achieve greatness and our bodies need rest if we want to prevent ourselves from getting run down.
From corporate to political leaders, humanitarians to police officers, successful people know and understand that our bodies are our temples and it’s our responsibility to look after them. Yes we need to eat well, remain physically active, and maintain strong emotional connections but we also need to relax. Everywhere we turn there’s articles and advertisements telling us what we should and shouldn’t be doing. But the simplest thing we can do for our health is the one we all forget.
Traditionally Sunday is a rest day. To give an example of how easy this is to forget, I’m going to give an outline of my Sunday this week. I woke up early and hit the gym. When I came home I scrubbed the house from top to bottom, then I went outside raked up the leaves and mowed the lawn. Then I came inside, had a shower, and spent the rest of the afternoon working on my blog. Then come Monday I’m back at my work desk working 9-5 for the next five days. This week, and pretty much every week that’s passed for months now, I’ve neglected my rest and despite this being perfectly normal in our society, it doesn’t make it right.
This is why I’m challenging myself to rest every Sunday. To take a step back from my busy lifestyle, forget my chores and my ambitions and just relax. I can’t say I will be able to do it straight away, but I’m sure as hell going to try. So what do you say, will you join me in my pursuit for occasional laziness?
Image via www.eligiblemagazine.com
Are you single and ready to mingle? Let’s do this! Dating doesn’t have to equal despair; it can be a lot of sexy fun and a great time for self-learning and discovery.
Some wear their singleton status with happiness and pride, while others fall prey to the outdated, old-fashioned notion that flying solo equals misery and loneliness. Who do you want to be? Choose the first option, pretty lady! Being single can even be a great lifestyle choice. Sure, you may have to kiss a few frogs, but this will only make you appreciate a good thing when you get it.
I can unequivocally say some of the best years I enjoyed in my 20s and early 30s were when I was single. The world’s your oyster; the possibilities are endless and it’s your time to be completely selfish! Go get em’, tiger.
Top five best attraction techniques:
- Work on yourself: Like attracts like – it’s science, baby – so how can you maximise the law of attraction? It all starts with yourself. I firmly believe – and my marriage is a prime example of this – the minute you finally start to relax and enjoy and even love being single, you’ll meet the partner of your dreams. If you value, love and respect yourself, you’ll meet a like-minded soul. Do the hard work on your mind/body/spirit personal development now, while single, to achieve your full potential in both life and love.
- Winners are grinners: Smile – it’s that simple. If you radiate happiness, confidence and inner-beauty, you’ll attract people to you, like moths to a flame. Alternatively, if you go out into the world with a face like a dropped pie, you’re not exactly sending out the vibe that you’re available for champagne dinners, summer picnics and hot sex, now are you? Genuine kindness, compassion and inner-joy are very attractive traits to develop in yourself and look for in the ones you want to be knocking socks with, later on.
- Do things you enjoy: If you’ve spent many years in one long-term relationship after another, being single is an excellent time to stand on your own two feet and really discover what blows your hair back. What are your passions? What books are you reading? Where have you travelled to? Work on developing your brain – not your bra size – and good things will follow suit. And when you’re out there enjoying yourself in the world – be it walking the dog, quaffing cocktails in a bar, or soaking up the serenity in your fave book shop – you will most likely meet and attract a worthy mate with similar interests.
- Stop comparing yourself: When I was single, many of my best friends were married – both happily and unhappily. The grass is always greener on the other side, to use a well-worn cliché, so stop comparing yourself to others. Everyone walks a different path; your married friends will most likely envy your singleton status, anyway. What are you doing with all that quality solo time? Put it to good use now, baby, because it can all change in the blink of an eye when love finds you. Learn to like being single and make the most of it! Get really comfortable in your own skin to meet the partner you deserve – confidence is one of the most attractive traits of all! And pay no attention to smug marrieds: don’t trust people who make you feel bad about being single – that’s always much more about what they’re lacking than anything to do with you.
- You gotta keep the faith: I’m not sure Jon Bon Jovi co-wrote Keep The Faith about being single, but it’s a great motto! Do not lose faith, sister – if you really, truly believe love will find you and keep an open heart and mind – trust me on this, it’ll happen. My own mother found true love in her 60s; love is as perennial as the grass, to quote Desiderata. So, stay positive and don’t listen to the haters; being single is empowering, fun and good for you, above all. And if you’re having a good time, you’ll attract some amazing lovers. Hang in there – love’s just around the corner waiting for you – when you’re really ready.
Images via socialseduction.com, armani.tumblr.com, doctoroz.com
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness.
Inner peace doesn’t come easily; yet learning to love yourself and practice self-compassion are important life skills essential for self-growth and development, for self-compassion and our well-being are inextricably linked. You can be a great, kind and loyal best friend to others, but your own harshest critic, which is very self-defeating; a destructive form of self-sabotage if ever there was one.
Being kind to yourself is important to avoid depression, misery and sadness; you have to give yourself positive daily messages to build and retain self-confidence, self-worth and your own inner peace and happiness. And self-care isn’t about being indulgent – in fact, it’s vital for our good health and well-being.
Brisbane psychologist Kobie Allison, 31, concurs, with self-compassion a hot topic in psychology right now. The psychologist/director of a private practice – which specialises in children, teens and families and acute and complex trauma – says self-compassion is essentially the art of being your own best friend.
Kobie, (pictured), says research has shown that a lack of self-compassion can lead to “depression, anxiety and stress, eating disorders, perceived helplessness, negative affect, and maladaptive coping behaviour.”
“In essence, self-compassion is treating oneself as worthy of the upmost love, respect, warmth, care and compassion,” she says. “Self-compassion is giving to you, what you so freely give to others.
“It is the inner-realisation that your feelings matter, that your pain and suffering matter, that ultimately you matter. Self-compassion is embracing and allowing your humanness and suffering to be exposed to yourself and others, and to experience this with self-kindness and respect.”
Kobie says American self-compassion expert, Dr Kristin Neff defines the three vital elements of self-compassion as:
Self-kindness: Being empathic, forgiving, sensitive and warm towards ourselves when we have suffered, failed, or we feel inadequate.
Common humanity: Recognising that suffering and personal inadequacy is part of being “human”. It is our shared human experience of feeling vulnerable and imperfect that provides a connection to others through our shared human experience.
Mindfulness: This allows people to observe their negative thoughts and emotions with openness and clarity, so that they are held in mindful awareness, rather than suppressing or denying their feelings.
So, we know that self-compassion is imperative for our own happiness, but how does it affect our close relationships? “People with higher levels of self-compassion report higher levels of life satisfaction, social relatedness, reflective and affective wisdom, personal initiative, curiosity and exploration, optimism, emotional intelligence, self-determination and more,” Kobie says.
“And research has also shown that self-compassion is also a positive predictor of healthy romantic relationships. It is through cultivating a sense of kindness, common humanity and mindfulness that we are enabled to be kinder and more supportive to those we care about.
“Interestingly, Kristin Neff found that individuals who practice self-compassion, tend to describe their partners as more affectionate, intimate, accepting and autonomous. In summary, this researcher noted that if an individual has a high-level of self-compassion, they are able to better take responsibility, forgive, and learn and grow from experience.
“In addition, an individual who is able to meet their own emotional needs through self-compassion, places less expectation and pressure on their loved ones. This allows both partners to be more giving and generous with one another.”
So, rather than falling prey to the self-destructive “princess myth” and looking for that white knight to rescue you, Kobie says look within for strength and the ability to self-soothe and calm, as relationships based on need often lead to drama and disappointment. What’s more, if you’re having a really bad day, practising the art of self-compassion can really help.
“Self-compassion can aid a person in times of suffering, such as having a bad day. Suffering affects our happiness, the happiness of those around us, and our behaviours throughout the day,” Kobie says. “For instance, suffering can lead to stress, frustration, anger towards others, feeling bad about yourself, feeling rushed, distraction, procrastination, not exercising, unhealthy eating and a lack of gratitude.
“Therefore, developing a self-compassion practice allows us to approach triumph and tribulation with understanding, kindness and compassion. So, rather than beating up ourselves up, we should instead acknowledge our suffering and ask ourselves: “What do I need in this moment? What kind gesture can I provide myself in loving-kindness?”
So, in learning self-compassion, Kobie advises us to try taking a “self-compassion break”. Think of a situation in your life that is difficult, that’s causing you stress. Call the situation to mind, and see if you can actually feel the stress and emotional discomfort in your body. Now, say to yourself:
- This is a moment of suffering: That’s mindfulness. Other options include:
- This hurts.
- This is stress.
- Suffering is a part of life: That’s common humanity. Other options include:
- Other people feel this way.
- I’m not alone.
- We all struggle in our lives.
Now, put your hands over your heart, feel the warmth of your hands and the gentle touch of your hands on your chest. Or adopt the soothing touch you discovered felt right for you.
- May I be kind to myself: Say this to yourself. You can also ask yourself: “What do I need to hear right now to express kindness to myself?” Is there a phrase that speaks to you in your particular situation, such as:
- May I give myself the compassion that I need.
- May I learn to accept myself as I am.
- May I forgive myself.
- May I be strong.
- May I be patient
This practice can be used any time of day or night and is said to help you remember to evoke the three aspects of self-compassion when you need it most.
Image via psychcentral.com
Valentine’s Day, on Saturday, February 14, is a great excuse to get glam, grab your beloved, and hit the town for a date night, so here’s some handy, new tools for your beauty arsenal. Single and ready to mingle? Fear not – the celebration of romantic love is also an opportune time to pamper and gift thyself! These are a few of my favourite things, new-to-counter. Here’s hoping they help you activate your mojo! Love (and good beauty products) is all your need…
Love me, thrill me: Pucker up, baby, with the new Guerlain Kisskiss Lipstick, $41, in bold, vampy 324 Red Love. The elegant and versatile lipstick has a silky texture, ensuring softness and long-lasting comfort. What’s more, it’s the perfect, easy-wearing shade of red. Va va voom! Find it at David Jones via www.davidjones.com.au.
Fifty shades of sex: The clever people at OPI are cashing in on the February 12 film release of Fifty Shades of Grey with six new limited-edition nail lacquers, including five grey nail lacquers in varying shades and textures, along with one rich red hue. Sexy stuff! Individual nail lacquers are $19.95, or a Fifty Shades of Grey Mini Pack, containing six nail lacquers, is $29.95. The collection will be on-counter from late January at selected Myer, David Jones, Sephora stores and salons nationally.
Smoking hot scents: The latest fragrance collection by Juliette Has A Gun – The Luxury Collection – which features seductive, new scents Oil Fiction Eau de Parfum, $390 (pictured at top), and Moon Dance Eau de Parfum, $350 (pictured), is a great way to spoil yourself this V Day. Oil Fiction plays with oriental notes of saffron amber and iris, whereas Moon Dance is an extravagant mix of violet, bergamot, rose and Aphrodite’s flower, heightened by a touch of musk. Find them at Libertine Parfumerie via www.libertineparfumerie.com.au, selected David Jones and Myer department stores and niche perfumeries.
A crowning glory: Shower time doesn’t have to be boring – add some razzle dazzle to your routine, and protect your blow-dry, with the divine Louvelle Dahlia Turban, $40, at Lulu and Lipstick. Created from stretch, quick-dry fabric with waterproof lining, the pleated turban style is fabulously fun and practical; it also doubles as a hair protector when removing or applying make-up. Visit www.luluandlipstick.com.
Fresh as a daisy: You’ll be irresistibly sweet thanks to the new Daisy Marc Jacobs Sorbet Editions: two seasonal scents on-counter this February. The first, Daisy Marc Jacobs Sorbet Edition Eau De Toilette Spray, $79 (pictured), is a succulent blend of sheer florals with a hint of fruit. Lush and playfully fresh, it opens with a juicy blend of pear and passion fruit, as crisp jasmine brightens the floral muguet and woody notes leave a warm dry down on the skin. Next up, Daisy Eau So Fresh Marc Jacobs Sorbet Edition Eau De Toilette Spray, $89, is dewy, fresh and fun and said to evoke happiness with a sweet blend of fruity florals. Find the collection at major department stores. Phone 1800 812 663.
Eyes on the prize: Your beloved may be spellbound by your mesmerising eyes this Valentine’s Day thanks to Issada’s pretty, new Ultimate Eyeliner collection of mineral gel eyeliner pencils, $36 each. On-counter in February, this baby is said to deliver the budge-proof benefits of a gel with the versatility and ease of a pencil. What’s more, it treats the delicate eye area with anti-aging botanicals and minerals. The 10 runway-inspired colours include turquoise, emerald, gold and more. Gorgeous! Paraben-free, gluten-free and vegan, find them at selected salons, spas and clinics and Issada Concept Stores. Visit www.issada.com.
Colour your world: Love yourself sick this V Day with the new Juuce Love Conditioning Colour Treatment, $25.95. An Australian hair care brand, Juuce blends quality ingredients with styling performance and is developed by hair care experts. Its Love Conditioning Colour Treatments are infused with Argan Oil and said to restore colour intensity and shine, refresh brightness and tone in between salon visits, and revitalise dry and dull hair. The colour treatment comes in seven colour levels for all hair types. Find it at Price Attack stores, salons and stockists nationally.
It is incredible how much we value other people’s opinion of us. If we were all really honest, we would admit that we do worry about what other people think and a lot of us spend a great deal of time trying to please other people. In fact, some of us spend too much time on this. We want our parents to be proud of us, we want our siblings to feel that they can rely on us and we want our bosses to believe in us. None of these feelings have to come at a push if we have great and healthy self-love.
People will trust that because we love ourselves and have a fantastic attitude to life, they will feel safe to do the same. We live in a time where unrealistic standards have been set by us – for ourselves. Superwoman is the person we are asking ourselves to be – no one else. People who are positive about themselves – even their mistakes (and let’s face it, we all make them) are usually the happiest. They are not worried about pleasing people, because by pleasing themselves and being happy, they are naturally making others happy anyway.
It is very difficult to stop that inner voice telling us negative things, but it is possible. The greatest way towards a good and healthy attitude is to lose the self-pity. The trick is to start to treat yourself as if you are a unique and confidant goddess. It seems that at the end of the day it is all about self-respect and it is the one attribute we cannot compromise on. So much time is spent on the negative. You will find that if you can turn your attitude around, you will turn your life around and you will be the happiest person in the room. Isn’t that what we all want?