Hi there! I’m Sheena and it’s truly an honour to be able to share a little piece of my journey with you. Initially (and only after my creative writing heart did a little jump for joy), I was a little intimidated when asked if I would like to write for “The Self-Love Club.” I found myself feeling unworthy of being placed in the company of all of the inspiring content creators that have written before me; most especially as part of this Monday Must series. What is it that I do that makes me an expert?
Am I even in any position to be doling out advice? I am a stay-at-home mother of four (which is a role that seems quite contrary to the professional, powerful, career-minded, badass woman I had hoped to be); I didn’t finish my undergraduate studies (you guessed it, I chose the classic take a semester off and get pregnant special); I’m struggling through my second marriage; my bank account routinely alerts me that I need to find more money to put into it and if I’m being really honest, I continue to make more than my fair share of mistakes. Then, it hit me! As I reigned in my “inner saboteur” before it got too carried away, yet again, I realized this is what I can talk to you about! My progress! Old me didn’t even realize she was self-sabotaging with all of that negative thinking! Now I have found that I can turn it off?! Winning!
I can honestly say I have gained a new appreciation for the human experience. I find myself able to focus on feeling grateful as I have made peace with my ego (who, I like to think, would be a lot like my very passionate three year old, if it were to magically incarnate). If sharing what I have learned on this journey of mine so far, is able to help even one other person with their process, that for me, would be the ultimate reward.
GET TO KNOW YOURSELF AND PRACTICE GIVING YOURSELF UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
How can you truly love someone if you don’t understand them? As a child, I always felt misunderstood, most especially by my Mother. As I got older, I often felt misunderstood by those I chose to give my heart to. In these past (almost) thirteen years as a Mother, I made it my mission to make sure that my children never felt that way. From the moment my first child was born, I learned the capacity of my heart to love a human unconditionally. It has not always been easy to show love in that way. It has required a lot of kindness, understanding and patience. As you discover when you become a parent, the essence of who your children are and their behaviours that trigger you reflect back so much of what makes you who you are. If I wasn’t at a stage where I could say I loved and accepted myself, how could I claim to truly love my children? In order to start loving myself, I had to be open to the idea of giving love to myself unconditionally. I had to create that same safe space I worked so hard to create for my children, for my inner child too. I had to find that same compassion for myself.
SPEND TIME WITH YOURSELF
Once you’ve made the conscious choice to love yourself unconditionally, you must take the time to get honest with yourself about who you really are. Once you’re able to know yourself you can work on accepting yourself. I recommend spending more time with yourself. It has been my experience that being silent in a natural environment, works best to facilitate a connection with yourself. There’s something so magical and grounding about spending time with our Mother Earth. Being able to nourish my body, give it the exercise it needs, the food that will help support it and quieting the negative self-talk are all things that have been made possible once I was able to fully connect with myself. As mindful, attached parents, we are always finding ways to connect with our children: we spend time with them, we listen to them, we observe them, we try to understand them, we make sure they are well and thriving. Why wouldn’t we do that for ourselves? You’ll find as you quiet down the external noise that comes with being in the company of or influenced by others all of the time, you are able to hear yourself much more clearly. This allows you to get back in touch with your intuition.
YOUR EMOTIONS ARE THERE FOR A REASON, USE THEM.
Embarking on a journey of self-love, will always end up unearthing baggage that we are meant to process and let go. Choose to heal things as they come up. The more you try to suppress them, the bigger the issues become. Being a highly emotional being, I know firsthand that it’s not easy to feel comfortable acknowledging our emotions in a patriarchal society. My youngest’s impressive display of emotional behaviours over the past three years, has shown me that whenever we have big emotions that come up, they’re always alerting us to some need we have that we feel is not being met. I believe our emotional responses are meant to be used as a guide. They show us what we resonate with, what makes us feel good and what doesn’t. Just as I gave validity to her feelings and tried my hardest to figure out what her emotions were trying to tell me, I practised the same with myself. Your emotions are not to be seen as a sign of weakness. In fact they seem to become quite the super power if you use them to guide you as you gain a deeper understanding of who you are. In time, you will learn that your logic and your feelings can work hand in hand.
LET GO AND TRUST THE UNIVERSE
I won’t tell you to fake positivity but, I will tell you that I started by at least getting myself into a neutral state of being. Getting to know myself helped me recognize my self-worth, which meant that I loved myself enough to want to protect myself. Understanding that no matter how hard I try, there will be times where I am not able to protect my children from all pain and suffering (even though I really, really want to) has been one of the hardest lessons I have learned since becoming a Mother. Losing my Grandma and Dad in the same year, who were both my fiercest protectors, also helped with that understanding.
As much as we try to control what happens around us, we find ourselves being reminded that we really don’t have much control at all. So, I’m actively trying to stop limiting myself every chance I get! Life is so short and it never works out exactly as you plan. I am not religious by any sense of the word but, there is not a day that goes by where I don’t feel Divinely guided and protected. The more I relinquish control, the more peace I seem to find. I find myself immersed in prayer so easily these days, just as I once was, as a child. I am finally at a space where I can confidently say that I have stopped believing that the Universe is working against me. In fact, I believe that we are set up to thrive. We just have to accept our humanity, learn to let go of our expectations, choose love for ourselves and others always, work hard never to operate with any ill intent and trust and surrender to the Universe with the belief that everything will always work out for our highest, collective good. Stay present with yourself in every moment and try to focus on all of the things you have to be grateful for. Needless to say, this process continues to be a work in progress. With much love, I wish you much success with yours!
Love all of this ❤️ beautifully written, Sheena