When it comes to self-love I don’t pretend to have it all together. The way I have viewed my body in the past has been honestly quite sad; with such comments as ‘you are fat’, ‘your arms are too big’ and ‘your skin is too white’ were among my personal favourite criticisms of myself. When I looked in the mirror I would see someone that was way bigger than what I really was and I would look at photos of myself until they turned ‘ugly’ only focusing on the parts about myself that I didn’t like.
It got so bad that one day last year I contemplated suicide. Yeah that’s how dark it got. I hated myself. I hated my life. The critical voices in my head were screaming at me. My spirit felt so heavy like a thick, wet blanket. Tears were pouring down my cheeks. I felt like there was only one way out of the mess I had gotten myself into. That was to end it all…
Jesus broke into my swirling thoughts and tumbling emotions; into a situation that was spiralling out of control. With a single thought if I chose to end it all, I would still be me. The thought devastated me because I wanted to be someone else. It also made me think if I will always be me I had better start liking me if not loving me. Those two simple thoughts would set me on a path for a healthier more positive journey of self –love.
A few months after that dark day, 18th July to be exact, Jesus revealed how much He truly loved me. I was reading verses in Song of Songs each verse seemed to leap off the page as if Jesus was there saying to me ‘I love you my darling Cathy so very much’. The truth had finally found its way to my heart. I cried tears of joy as I felt more secure in being myself than ever before. My spirit danced with a lightness when before there was a heaviness. I wanted to climb onto my roof and shout with pure happiness ‘Jesus loves me!’ I didn’t; mind you.
There has been many ups and downs in my own journey with self – love. I had to start healing from the past; you can read about it in Letting Go and Beautiful Scars. But I am learning more, seemingly each day, about loving myself in spite of the imperfections. For me confidence and happiness directly impact my level of self- love. It was therefore important to improve both by Nurturing Confidence and embarking on a personal Happiness Challenge. I also noticed the language I spoke about myself and to myself was really hurtful and negative. I realised I needed to speak and think more kindly and positively about myself that’s why Cheerleader was a big turning point for me. I can happily say I am quicker to give myself a compliment. Though full disclosure I am not perfect at this. I am aware now when I am being harsh with myself; as a result I stop and take steps in a positive direction i.e. if the outfit I am wearing is not making me feel beautiful I change it; sometimes it is reminding myself how small I am or beautiful; asking Jesus to help me love myself also helps.
My self- love journey has gone into new territory lately. Worth. Boy is it hard. I have always struggled with this. I think it has to do with me not being physically ‘perfect’ due to Cerebral Palsy. I would try to measure up to an impossible goal of being a regular person. Worth would be something I would wrestle with from time to time. Now it has come up again due to another medical diagnosis of Non –ulcer (functional) Dyspepsia (Your Attitude Can Change Your Perspective). Why? Because it made me question how lovable I really am. It has taken a few weeks but I can say to myself truly ‘I am lovable’ ‘I am worth having’ as a daughter, sister, friend, work colleague, etc. and also future tense as a wife and mother. It is something I have to tell myself every day. Repetition allows the truth to sink in.
So as I look in the mirror or at pictures of myself:
I see someone who is no longer running from her past
I see someone who has changed from who they once were
I see someone who is trying to love themselves each and every day
I see someone who is learning and growing in what is needed in her own self –love journey
I see someone who has more hope, love, confidence and happiness for herself and her life
I see someone who is finally seeing how beautiful she is inside and out
What do you see when you look in the mirror or at pictures of yourself?
I wanted to share with you my self –love journey up to this point. To show you it has not been a flick of the switch transformation. Nor has it been perfect neither is it perfect (I still have my bad days). It has been slow and hard to get to this point in an ongoing transformation. But the progress made this far has been SO worth it. Please never give up on loving yourself.
P.S I actually struggled to pick a favourite from the shoot, I liked too many, which is totally new for me 🙂