Do you ever feel like you're on a journey somewhere and for some reason, of which you're yet to discover, the same message is being thrown at your from all directions? It's a gradual thing, you notice it once, twice, the third time is a coincidence for shizzle. The fourth and you begin to take notice, if you were a - insert your favourite dog breed here - you'd prick your ears up and sniff the air. Eventually, as you near your destination on this particular life lesson, it dawns on you that something, somewhere, call it as you wish; the universe, a higher being, Yoda, is trying to tell you something.
I feel like I've been learning about self love for the past year or so, dipping my toes in here and there, naively believing that not only did I understand and know about self love, I also practiced it too. Oh how wrong I was. I'm only just beginning to understand what self love is, and I guess it's a pretty subjective thing.
One of those moments that made me prick my ears up a little was when my other half confronted me regarding compliments. "You can't accept a compliment can you?" He asked me one day in the car.
I can't, or I couldn't. It's something I'm working on. My instant reaction is to hit it right back, waaay out of the court. I may do this slyly:
Friend/Family Member/ Weird Train Stalker Guy: You look lovely today! I love your dress!
Me: Oh this?! I bought it years ago for €3 in a sale.
I may be a little blunt:
Friend/Family Member/ Weird Train Stalker Guy: You're beautiful.
Me: No I'm not (said in a slightly outraged voice)
and sometimes I may just deflect and change the subject:
Friend/Family Member/ Weird Train Stalker Guy: I really like how you've done your hair today, it really suits you.
Me: Is it cold in here or is it me?! I tell you what I've been bloody freezing all week!
Smoooooth Peta Smooth.
I'm trying this new thing where I not only smile and thank the complimenter, (apart from weird train stalker guy because that relationship came to an abrupt end when I stopped taking the train to work) but I take the compliment in and make myself believe it. I know, this is freaking new age stuff right here.
Anyway, the other day, actually night, actually early hours of the morning - I couldn't sleep. I was scrolling through good old instagram (I know, I know, this is part of why I can't sleep) when I came across a photo of the gorgeous Carrie Fletcher in her bikini. The caption explained that she had been receiving a whole load of abuse in regards to her weight and body shape. I, of course, was raging and could write a whole post on just this subject. However, this is not why I'm mentioning this photo. She also spoke about Megan Jayne Crabbe AKA Body Posi Panda.
I scrolled through her pics for a little while when I came across this video. I dare you not to be in awe of her confidence that absolutely shines through. After reading her blog, and generally stalking her on twitter - my apologies Megan! I knew I had to share this amazing soul with all who will listen. So for the past few days, anyone and everyone that has crossed my path has been shown her IG account. I thought it was about time I mentioned it online too, just incase, on the very slim off chance, you haven't heard of this wonderous being yet!
Anyway we are going off on a tangent here Peta, pull it back. Please see exhibit one, in my theory that we rarely see ourselves as we really are:
This photo was taken five years ago, I can clearly remember thinking that I needed to lose weight, and why was I so fat?! Even when I saw the photos afterwards I wasn't happy, it motivated me to lose more weight, to work out more, to eat more salad. To cut back on the biscuits. WHAT ON EARTH WAS I THINKING?!
This photo was taken on the morning of my best friend's wedding, my inner monologue spent the whole day reminding me that I hadn't reached my goal weight for her wedding, that pigging out the week of the wedding on all things British had only made me bloated and fat, that I should have worked harder.
I have peppered this post with other photos that are rarely seen, photos that aren't in my opinion picture perfect. But there's one theme throughout, I'm really happy in them, I'm being silly or have no make up on at all. Pictures that in all likely hood only my boyfriend has seen, because you know, he kinda wakes up next to this face and has known it nearly his whole life. He knows what to expect.
There you go again, a quiet little dig. This is what I want to stop, the quiet digs here and there, my own looks of disaproval, that horrible bitchy inner voice. She's not allowed here anymore, she has been banned.
My relationship with food changed for the better when I discovered that following a plant based diet could heal my body. However my relationship with exercise stayed the same. Up until recently I worked out to lose weight, change my body shape, be a size "XYZ" . Of course the goal posts consistently changed, just before reaching my goal I'd change it to yet another near impossible one. I was never happy, I never felt like I achieved anything. In fact I always felt guilty for not working out hard enough.
My mindset has started changing though, and I feel like I owe it to people like Megan for this and my partner too. I recently discovered what not working out does to my mind and I am fully aware what it does to my joints. I have an illness called EDS and when my muscles aren't strong my joints suffer and I struggle to walk. I've started to work out because I enjoy it, I like how happy and positive I am afterwards, my energy levels are sky high and I'm more flexible.
I've started to appreciate and like my body for what it is right now. Not for what I wish it would be. I've removed the rose tinted glasses when looking at photos in magazines and online, the majority of those bodies that we see aren't real, they are absolutely and utterly unobtainable.
I've started to love myself, now. Not the person I'm becoming or the person I once was. The person that I am right now, because all of those close to me, who I love so dearly and look up to. They love her, if she's good enough for them, then she's good enough for me.
Give it a try, love yourself.