So I have just finished my Valentines 14 Days of Self Love challenge over on my Free Shambhala Soul Sisters community group on Facebook.
One of the reasons I decided to do the challenge is because I believe that the power of self-love is such an important practice that we often neglect. However self-love is what allows us to heal, and when we truly love ourselves, we begin to acknowledge and understand the unique power that we possess.
As someone who has and still does struggle with truly loving myself, I know all too well how it feels to never feel enough.
Warning what I am about to write next goes deep!!
My lack of self-love began when I was a child. I was brought up in the midst of domestic violence. During that time my dad never showed me any love or affection and although my mum tried her best, she wasn't always emotionally available when I needed her.
My mum finally left my dad when I was 10 years old. By then I had lived in 11 different houses. We were homeless and broke with nothing but the clothes on our backs and a suitcase.
As you can imagine the years following this where extremely difficult for me. As I transitioned into my teenage years, I also became more aware of the racism I was being subjected to on an ongoing basis.
I really began to struggle with my sense of identity with no connection to my African heritage. My dad is from Ghana and my mum Scottish.
I remember being called names because of the colour of my skin, my hair, my lips, my weight, for not having the latest clothes. At that time I hated being of mixed race and
each insult left me feeling more and more worthless, and more and more unloved. So, I began to use alcohol & drugs as a way to escape my worries and when I was 15 years old I tried to complete suicide.
These self-sabotaging behaviours carried on into my adult years and I continued to use alcohol & recreational drugs as a way to mask how I felt inside. Because of the barriers I had put up to protect myself over the years, I was perceived as a party girl, but in the inside I felt so alone, I was screaming out for love and acceptance.
I didn’t know who I was anymore, I didn't believe in myself, I didn’t see my own worth and inevitably I ended up in relationships that mirrored this, which meant I sank deeper into my own self-loathing and constantly required external validation from others that I was likeable and loveable.
I failed to see the underlying and permanent damage I was causing myself. So much so that it has only been over the last few years that I have gradually begun to realise my self-worth issues – my lack of boundaries, my inability to say ‘no’ or needing other peoples validation; not feeling good enough so never being able to celebrate, or even acknowledge, when I had achieved something; needing everything to be perfect to validate that I was good enough not to mention the overwhelming thoughts that I was a failure, a burden, useless, or nobody really liked me.
So, at the start of 2020 I decided enough was enough and I sought support from a counsellor to address my childhood trauma and the baggage I had accumulated along the way.
As we went into lockdown what followed next I describe as my sacred pause. I took the time as an opportunity to slow things down and really heal myself through yoga, meditation and detoxing myself physically, mentally and emotionally.
I have spent the last year going deep into my abyss and shining light on parts of me that I need to love and accept. As a result, I am slowly swimming back up to the shore with a toolkit of practices, techniques and strategies to build up, and solidify, my sense of self-love and self-worth.
I share this story with you not for sympathy or pity, but because I want you to know that I see you, I hear you, I feel you, I am you. We all have different stories to tell, but in the end we all have the same thoughts, feelings and emotions.
Self-love is not something you can fix overnight. But the good news is, self-love comes from your heart which is a muscle, and with regular exercise and practice, you can grow this muscle so that it’s strong enough to hold you through life the way you deserve.
As we continue the rise into the age of the DIVINE FEMININE we are being asked to nurture and care for ourselves as the greatest relationship we will ever have is the one with ourselves.
So my advice to you is invest in your relationship with yourself and deepen your connection to the most important person in your life - YOU!
DOWNLOAD MY FREE SELF LOVE MEDITATION HERE TO REMIND YOURSELF THAT YOU ARE ENOUGH.