Photographer, author, founder of Women of Spirit and one of our Inspirational Women, Susie Mackie shares her words of wisdom for taking care of yourself!
As a believer in the fact that body-confidence comes from within and stems from how we FEEL about ourselves rather than the way we look, we need to address the burning issue of self-love – or lack of – NOW.
Self-love is often seen as selfish, unattainable, only for others, even arrogant! Yet lack of it has a detrimental effect on our lives.
Kristin Neff, the pioneer of self-compassion research, describes this as follows:
“Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the same kindness, concern, and support you’d show to a good friend. When faced with difficult life struggles, or confronting personal mistakes, failures, and inadequacies, self-compassion responds with kindness rather than harsh self-judgment, recognising that imperfection is part of the shared human experience.” (Neff & Dahm, 2015)
It took me until my late 50’s to begin to increase my self-esteem and learn to love myself. Now, at 62, I am living proof that it is never too late to know your worth and that self-love brings all sorts of happiness and joy! Life is far too short to live it in a state of low self-esteem and suffer the consequences of this, so my life’s purpose has become encouraging and empowering other women to value and love themselves – far earlier than the age of 62!
Value is about making time to appreciate yourself, to allow for some ‘me’ time and to enjoy guilt-free treats. It all stems from having a sense of self-worth, which comes from within. It’s that word again: ‘self-worth’. A lot of similar words have been floating around the media recently; words like ‘self-love’, ‘well-being’ and ‘body-confidence’ are all widely used nowadays, but what do they actually mean?
Well, ‘worth’ is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “the value of something measured by its qualities or by the esteem in which it is held.” How much we value ourselves is dependent on how much self-worth we feel we have. Therefore, if we feel low and unworthy, it is likely that we will forget to make time for ourselves, to appreciate who we see in the mirror.
When we love being who we are, the rest of the world is wonderful. When you feel great about yourself, isn’t it amazing how other people become really nice to you! It’s all about that superpower, the law of attraction.
All of our thoughts and actions stem from the way we see ourselves. Our self-image is coloured by our successes and failures, our experiences (I’ve always said to my daughters that it’s not so much the experience which matters, it’s how you handle them and what you learn from them which matters), our thoughts about ourselves, and other people’s reaction to us.
It’s hugely important to realise that our self-image determines how much we like our world and living in it, and how much we will achieve in life. So think about the way you think and talk about yourself. Are you kind to yourself, or if you treated your friends the way you treat yourself, how many friends do you think you’d have left? Treat yourself with kindness and compassion, and see what a difference it makes to your whole outlook. We create our own quality of life based on our own self-image – and we decide our own self-image. We decide our own worth, and we decide how much happiness to expect. Have a good think about this – in the past few years, I have, and believe me, it’s true, and I know the difference it makes!
Aim to follow these guidelines:
- Nobody else will give you permission to spend time on yourself – you have to take it – it’s not selfish, it’s self-full.
- Find out what brings you joy – and do as much of it as you can!
- Be the real you – if you are happy, it shows, and that’s attractive. Be happy with what you have already, but there is no need to apologise for wanting more.
- Be someone who inspires others to respect you – you can only do this if you truly value yourself.
- Have a fabulously positive attitude – or pretend to until it comes naturally! Be a radiator, not a drain
- Mix with radiators – avoid drains!
- So many things in life take courage – aspire to have the best, and the best will come.
- Do you think that confidence is sometimes a matter of how you cover up the lack of it? I do. I had a conversation with a woman today who always comes across as positively sparky in her confidence – yet today she admitted to me that she’s like a swan – all serene and confident on the surface, yet paddling madly underneath, with wobbles just as much as anyone. I found this admission of vulnerability positively endearing and warmed to her immediately.
If you look good (from your fabulous Hotter shoes upwards!) you will feel better – having a great external image (which of course means you value yourself enough for this) goes a long way to giving you the feeling of confidence – and soon that little seed of confidence will grow and eventually take root, until you blossom into the authentically confident person you were always meant to be.
It’s important to stop for a moment and think about the last time we enjoyed a guilt-free treat. By asking questions such as, “how often does abundance and joy enter my life?” you allow yourself time to pause and evaluate.
I hope that by assessing how much we value ourselves, we can start to make decisions about how to increase our self-worth. Perhaps that’s by starting the day with a ten-minute meditation or exercise routine, or by practicing mindfulness for five minutes in the evening, or even enjoying favourite music in the evening instead of watching television. There are so many simple ways to make time for ourselves, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
‘Indulgence’, ‘me time’, ‘pleasure’, ‘abundance and joy’ and ‘well-being’ are all topics that allow us to reflect on our sense of self-worth. By making just a small amount of time to do what we love, we are positively changing the way we view ourselves. To ‘indulge’ is described as “to allow oneself to enjoy the pleasure of…”!
So, what are you going to do this week to indulge in what you love?!
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” George Bernard Shaw