Keeping It Real For You

“A good selfie is when you successfully capture the feeling of that very moment!” 
Anamika Mishra

 

Yesterday I ventured out into the world for the first time in weeks. This flu has really laid me low, and I’m still far from well but yesterday Ben, Cafe Dog and I went out to check the mail at our post box, to food shop for his mum and to grab a quick coffee.

Harry Dog was thrilled to finally leave the house too. Me? I was not quite with it, but grateful to be dressed and upright.

Makeup and hair styling? All too hard. I was clean, I smelled okay, and I’d swapped pyjamas for going-out clothes. As far as I’m concerned that’s a win!

We were out for less than an hour, by which time I was completely exhausted, but it was worth it to feel like part of the human race again.

I know. I can hear you saying it. I’m damaging my personal brand with these awful selfies. First it was thigh gap, and now real and unadulterated images of me feeling crappy and fluey and still quite horrid (and still with bad hair, wrinkles and oldness).

Oh well.

I’m really a bit over all of these images and stories in my social media feed about how to lose weight, look younger, have bigger boobs, fewer wrinkles, smaller thighs (or thigh gap!) or whiter teeth, and all of those images of perfectly happy people having perfectly wonderful lives.

Does your life look like that?

Mine doesn’t. And sweethearts it is absolutely fine if yours doesn’t either.

Today I want you to embrace yourself just as you are. Give yourself a hug or a virtual high-five from me if you’ve turned up for life today – no matter how hard things are right now. Give yourself an elephant stamp if you managed some personal hygiene. Have a gold star if you accomplished something on your list. Kind to yourself or others? Seriously – you deserve a medal! That’s the world I want to live in. I want a world filled with people who are honest and vulnerable and real – who show up courageously when life is hard, who reach out to others when they have the strength to do so, and who ask for help when they are struggling to manage on their own.

Let’s be kind to all those people with perfectly curated social media lives too. Because I can guarantee you that behind those images will be the same kinds of health dramas, money problems, relationship issues, depression, anxiety and ‘stuff’ that all the rest of us experience. They were just careful to edit those bits out before they put their life on display.

That’s one gift that chronic illness has given me – I’ve realised what matters, and it certainly isn’t about living my life to impress other people.

Lovelies, let’s agree to just keep being ourselves and to support others to be themselves too. Doesn’t that take off an enormous amount of pressure? Without that pressure we’ve freed up untold energy to put to much more constructive uses. Hooray for that. Hooray for real.

Biggest hugs to you from my personal-brand trashing self, Nicole xx

 

 

When I Loved Myself Enough…

Image by Sibel

Image by Sibel

“You can be the most beautiful person in the world and everybody sees light and rainbows when they look at you, but if you yourself don’t know it, all of that doesn’t even matter. Every second that you spend on doubting your worth, every moment that you use to criticize yourself; is a second of your life wasted, is a moment of your life thrown away. It’s not like you have forever, so don’t waste any of your seconds, don’t throw even one of your moments away.”
~ C. JoyBell C.

 

After yesterday’s post about using the good china (and all those other good things we put away for special occasions) I received two messages that broke my heart. Here they are:

I cannot tell you how many times I have thrown away expensive chocolates that were ” too good” to eat. Or expensive perfumes and lotions that have turned bad because I was saving them. I have come to realize that I have such low self-esteem, I do not feel worthy. It is something I must work on.

and this…

I don’t feel like I deserve anything nice, Nicole. I don’t even know how loving myself would look. I’m not sure how to be nice to myself. How do you treat yourself well? I’m not even sure what that is.

So, for them, and as a reminder to you, I’ve put together a few ideas.

 

When I loved myself enough, I used the expensive lotions and perfumes that other people gave me. I’d even use them before I went to bed, so that I slept enveloped in a fragrant and beautiful cloud. How heavenly!

Image from Hermeswitch

Image from Hermeswitch

When I loved myself enough I was delighted when anyone gave me a delicious gift of food. I’d eat it slowly, or fast, or anyway I wanted, because every mouthful was an affirmation of love from the giver. And even better – yum!

Image from The Wendy House

Image from The Wendy House

When I loved myself enough I wore my good jewellery, even if it was to the school play, or afternoon tea on my own somewhere. I delighted in playing dress-ups, even though I was now grown up. Who doesn’t enjoy looking pretty? I enjoyed feeling the link with the place or person or memory connected with those jewels. And if the memory was rotten I made up a fantabulous story that made me feel much better, and let me be the hero of my own life.

Image from Wif&Hub

Image from Wif&Hub

When I loved myself enough I occasionally allowed myself to eat chocolate or cake or ice-cream for dinner. Or cheese and biscuits. Sometimes you just need that kind of a dinner after a rough day. And I’d fill myself up with romance novels or excellent old movies or endless youtube funny kitten clips. Most importantly I’d not allow myself a smidgeon of guilt. Who needs guilt if you already feel bad!

When I loved myself enough I chose to nourish my body with good nutritious foods. I cooked myself healthy meals, packed healthy lunches and went to yoga classes or for a walk with my dog. It’s my body and I have to live in it. I may as well keep the joint clean, tidy and in good working order. Anyway, it just feels better. And it’s never too late to start.

Image from Health Maven

Image from Health Maven

When I loved myself enough I realised that life was confusing, crazy and a little bit wild. Of course I’d occasionally look and feel dishevelled, brutalised or downright lost. I was patient with myself and kind. I made sure I got some early nights. I phoned a friend. I hugged my cat/dog/Significant Other/llama/Hello Kitty Pillow and spoke gentle words to myself until I felt better again.

Image by jr-Gong

Image by jr-Gong

When I loved myself enough I understood that I am a soul living in a skin suit. I have to wear that suit every day, and sometimes it stretches, shrinks, changes colour, gets worn-looking or bits break or even fall off. That’s okay. It happens to everyone, and I’ll have to give this suit back one day anyway. They’ll expect it back in used condition. I’ll be one of the lucky ones if I get to keep my skin suit for a long, long time. In the meantime I can nurture it with good food, pretty jewellery and dress-ups, yoga and lotions and perfumes and hugs.

Life is a gift. It’s short, precious, crazy and no-one is getting out of it alive. You might as well treat yourself well and make the best of it!

Heck-of-a-Lot-of-Fun