Self Love - what's the big deal?

 I'm always harping on about Self Love (for example this blog here. Hint: It ain't just a fling). Self Love is what Core Confidence is built from. But what actually is it and why am I so passionate about it? Let's dive right in....

Revisiting Self Compassion pioneer Dr Kristen Neff's work - as stated on her website (www.self-compassion.org): 

 "Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?"

Dr Neff has broken down Self Compassion into three elements: 

1. Self Kindness vs Self Judgement

Being self compassionate means recognising that imperfections, failing and life difficulties are inevitable. 

2. Common Humanity vs Isolation 

Self compassion recognises that suffering is something we all go through. Not the irrational justification that “I" am the only failing or “I" am the only one making mistakes. 

3. Mindfulness vs Over-identification 

Self compassion recognises the importance of observing negative emotions. Not exaggerating them or asking them to go away. Lack of self compassion can be related to the over identification with thoughts and feelings - allowing ourselves to be swept away by emotions. 

So why? 

My passion for Self Love stems from the journey I've had so far. When I left school, moved to the city, started University and tried to fit into a new social group - I felt inadequate and not good enough. For me, my low self esteem and lack of self love surfaced in the form of poor body image. I was constantly criticising myself; criticising the way I looked. My body, more specifically my weight, was something I could control.  Society (I thought) was telling me the thinner I was, the more liked I would be, the easier it would be to fit in, the more I would love myself. Right? Ah sorry Beans, but no. So not right. On reflection it's easy for me to see where I was missing Dr Kristen Neff's Self Compassion elements:

  • I was striving for some kind of ultimate "perfection" with the genuine belief that such perfection existed and was being emulated by those around me.
  • I felt completely alone in my suffering. That I was the only one making these mistakes, loosing control, failing.
  • I was completely overwhelmed with negative emotions. 

My passion for Self Love continues because of the conversations I am constantly surrounded by. “I'm fasting”; “I'm on a juice cleanse”; “I’m going to be naughty and treat myself with a chocolate”; "I hate my stomach"; "I wish I looked like her". I am by no means immune to occasionally using and engaging in this type of language. Nor am I suggesting that everyone on a juice cleanse doesn't love themselves. I do however think we deserve more from ourselves.

We can embrace our body for all that it's capable of and does for us rather than what it looks like in a bikini. We could be living for and embracing the moment instead of waiting to look a certain way to wear a certain thing or to feel a certain way. We have the opportunity to place less emphasise on believing that once we do this or achieve that we will be "happier" or "be more loveable" or "be good enough". To me, it starts with Self Love.

  • Showing kindness to ourselves in times of failures and difficulty.
  • Realising that you alone are not the only one struggling, or feeling fear or uncertain.
  • Accepting that sadness, pain and failure are just as much part of life as happiness, joy and success. 

More emphasise could be placed on knowing that all feelings pass - negative and positive. That perhaps the greater source of our negative body image is the inherent lack of love for our self. Our whole self. 

So HOW? 

Core Confidence provides a platform to share a body positive message. To educate. To provide connection. To provide external resources. We take the focus off what the body looks like and instead focus on what it does. Utilising the benefits of exercise to MOVE the body with the benefits of mindfulness to create STILLNESS in the mind. 

For us, it starts with Self Love.

  • Teaching you ways to be kinder to yourself - your whole self. 
  • Showing you that you are not alone.
  • Raising your self awareness by practising being an observer of your emotions and thoughts.  

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible

 - Dalai Lama