It`s simply unthinkable for me to write about Valentine`s Day today, while I know that Linda will probably be reading my Blog, as she always does. Linda is not our only member who has lost a soulmate to Covid. But Linda is one of few women who has gone through the ordeal of losing two husbands. She had to part with Christiaan when he was only 40-years old, and a few days ago Jan lost his long battle against Covid…
The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc here, and all around the world. Yesterday a well-known florist from Johannesburg reported on News24 that she has sent more “I loved you” bouquets for funerals, than preparing “I love you” surprises for Valentines in the past week.
One Twitter user even asked why President Cyril Ramaphosa didn’t cancel Valentine’s Day during the state of the nation address on Thursday.
Some people said they were too broke to even consider buying gifts for their significant others, while comedian Elsa Majimbo shared these words on social media:
“Valentine’s Day is one day in a year that is made to make single people feel lonely, and people in relationships to feel poor. The pandemic has blessed all single people to ensure that no-one has a good time.”
Ouch. No, I`m sure there are still many people who are waiting anxiously to see if they will score a gift today, and there still really are thousands of happily-ever-afters on this Valentine`s Day. I don`t know what your story is on this Sunday, the 14th of February 2021. Maybe you`re alone today, maybe you`re celebrating the day with friends at Butr restaurant, maybe you`re cuddling up with your special person watching a Netflix movie. Or maybe you`re just over the teddies, the flowers and all the heart-shaped chocolates…
I was thinking that I would really like to share something on this Valentine`s Day of 2021 that EVERYONE can relate to. Then that all familiar quote by Brené Brown from her book “the Gifts of Imperfection” came to mind: “Owning our story and loving yourself through that process is the bravest thing we`ll ever do.”
So yes, I want to talk about self-love on Valentine`s Day, but before you roll your eyes thinking that I want to encourage you to visit a Spa, put on a face mask, go on a solo vacation and sip on glasses of pink gin, just read a little further.
We constantly hear talks about self-love. We have all heard others tell us to be kinder to ourselves and to love ourselves. I don`t know about you, but to me it has always been some vague concept as impossible as if they told me to grow an extra pair of hands.
I know I`m definitely not the only person in the world who has struggled with the concept of self-love. I experience weekly how self-dislike, yes, not even self-hate, is holding women back from their dreams.
Maybe it`s because I`m just getting older and a little bit wiser, or maybe it`s because I`ve worked with so many women who have proved that practising self-love can really be lifechanging. But I have really come to believe in the value of self-love.
Now, what is self-love? Is it more than pampering yourself, flossing your teeth and saying a dozen affirmations a day? Is loving yourself being able to look in the mirror for once without criticizing your own body, and for once not seeing your flaws and stretch-marks and scars and all the features you could never change? Yes, I guess that`s a good starting point.
As Elizabeth Gilbert describes it in her book “Eat, Pray, Love”: “People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, but a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.”
What do YOU think is the main difference between people who can say no to a piece of cake, or get up at 5.00 in the morning to do a workout, and those people who can`t? Lack of time? Lack of self-discipline? No, lack of self-love.
You see, when I was younger, I always thought having self-love implies being blind to your shortcomings, feeling entitled, arrogant, and self-important. It`s not. Self-love is not about self-absorption. It’s not about self-comparison to determine your state among other people. It’s not always about proclaiming yourself to be the first, being inconsiderate of others. And it’s not always about winning and being the number one in everything.
It simply means that you embrace your strengths and are compassionate with yourself. Practising self-love means that you set yourself up for success and happiness, while allowing yourself to grow.
“Self-love is an ongoing process”, writes Frank Lobsiger in his book “The art of self-love”. It`s not a sudden, aha-style moment of eureka like we often see in the movies. It can progress and regress, and it needs constant maintenance. Self-love is self taught.
Over the years I have made a remarkable discovery in our studio. Women often join because they think they are not thin enough. And then, they find something else. They find a group of people who emanate love to everyone who walks through that door. I am so privileged to be part of this workout community where even our flaws are beautiful and where we manage to connect to ourselves more than ever before.
I`m not trying to convince you to join our studio. I`m urging you to learn to fall in love with yourself. Again. To accept yourself. To know who you are, where you have come from and where you still have to go…to own it and to stand firm.
When you look into the mirror, what do you see? I hope you can see past all your mistakes, your regrets, and your flaws. I hope you can look into your own eyes and see that you are human, and that being human is enough.
We’ve all been insecure and we’ve all been awful to ourselves at some point in our lives, but we need to stop this madness. It’s time to take a stand against self-loathing and truly fall in love with ourselves. So, you aren’t perfect, and you have flaws. Do you realize that seven billion other humans fit this same description?
(If you are a Challenge member, please WhatsApp the words “I choose self-love” to Mirna before 20:00)
Famous comedian, Charlie Chaplin, wrote the most beautiful poem about self-love on his 70th birthday:
“As I began to love myself, I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it MATURITY.
As I began to love myself, I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm. Today I call it SELF-CONFIDENCE.
As I began to love myself, I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it SIMPLICITY.
As I began to love myself, I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first, I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is LOVE OF ONESELF.
As I began to love myself, I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is MODESTY.
As I began to love myself, I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it FULFILLMENT.”
2021 is another opportunity for you to get to know YOU, to learn how strong you really are, to depend on no-one but YOU for your happiness, and to light your own flame. Is there a way to really love ourselves 100%? Maybe, maybe not. But I know self-love is a choice, daily. And, in the words of Byron Katie: “It`s not your job to like me – it`s mine.”
Yours in fitness
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