I can’t believe it’s March already! Last month was all about self-love and as part of that I read the book ‘I Heart Me’ by David Hamilton, which I really enjoyed. I found it particularity interesting hearing about it from a male perspective and a Scottish male perspective at that.
It’s not a topic that would usually be spoken about down the pub with the lads…..”Well Dave, you’ve just got to love yourself more” are words that I’m sure are rarely uttered between the male of the species in Scotland or even the UK! With suicide becoming the leading killer of men under the age of 50 in the UK, I think it’s a topic that is relevant now more than ever and I hope that more men read this book as well as women. In fact, I really wish self-love was taught at school because it will shape your whole life. More so than exam results and qualifications.
I really loved how open David was about his struggles and admitted fighting back tears after some public speaking events. He was in the ‘I’m not enough’ stage and took people not liking his talks personally. He correlated his worth as a person with how good or bad he’d judged himself to have done. I stress himself as he was his own worst critic! We all have that in common.
Plus, we really do tend to put conditions on our self-worth or enoughness. If you have enough money, friends, a good job, a partner, a good body, get enough likes on Facebook or Instagram, etc, etc, then you will feel good about yourself, you feel happy and enough but the truth is as David puts it…
“Part of being human is being entitled to be happy. We don’t need to earn the right, just as we don’t need to earn sunlight or oxygen. We’re also entitled to love and health. And we’re entitled to thrive. And when I say ‘entitled’, I mean that there are no questions about this, no arguments, no debates. It just is!”
Your happiness, self-worth and self-esteem come from inside and should not be linked to external stuff but we often make that mistake because we’ve been taught and conditioned to do so by clever marketing and the over emphasis on achievement in the education system.
I was out with my friend the other day there and her little toddler really loves to look at herself in the mirror at the moment and it reminded me of the book. She smiles at herself lovingly and giggles away happily at her reflection. That is our default state. It would be sad to think that she would ever look in the mirror and not love herself, or even like what she sees but sadly that default state tends to get clouded over by negative self-talk as you grow up.
The book has many exercises to combat this and help you build your self-love muscles and it really is like building up muscles because you need to work at it consistently and if you stop, they will shrink! My favorite exercise from the book has to be the power poses and changing your body language to change your physiology. You are effectively rewiring your brain when you do them. I also talk about them in my free gift ‘Sparkle with Confidence’. You can find out more about it here.
A great question to ask yourself is how would a person who really loved themselves talk (especially to them self)? Eat? Hold themselves? Walk? Move? Dress? Think? Be like? Once you’ve come up with a detailed vision of what that looks like to you, then start doing it! Even if you don’t feel like it yet. Once you start acting like it, your body will change your mind.
David also talks about the acceptance paradox, where you won’t really be able to change anything about yourself until you fully accept it first. He says…“Self-acceptance usually gives birth to inspired, creative change and it does so from ‘I am enough’ instead of not enough.”
This is very true as the decisions you make from a place of self-love are very different from the ones you would make from low self-esteem. Don’t get me wrong, it can be hard to accept yourself just as you are when you really want to change. The first step though is accepting what is. Once you’re there positive changes will happen automatically. You can be both a masterpiece and a work in progress at the same time! Louise Hay’s mirror work is super powerful for self acceptance. This is simply looking at yourself in the mirror and saying ‘I love you’.
During my Yoga Teacher Training this past year, I’ve come to think of myself as more than my thoughts or even my body and have learned how amazing the human body is through studying anatomy and how it all works. It really is miraculous when you think about it! I now love my body for functioning without me even having to think about it! Yes, I am carrying a few extra pounds but that does not take away from how amazing it is and how much I appreciate that I’m fit and healthy. I do want to lose weight but I will do it from a place of helping my body rather than punishing it.
Finally, self-love and self-compassion is really good for your health and that is scientifically proven! In the book David says“Self-compassion protects biology. As well as being protective against stress-induced inflammation, it is now understood to be protective against the diseases linked to it, and these include cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes and even Alzheimer’s disease.”
So why wouldn’t you love yourself?! I would highly recommend reading the book and start building your own self-love muscles. Life Coaching can really help in this area too, so why not get in touch with me to see how I could help.