Week 3: Self-love

self-love | Kimberly Hetherington | Art Therapy with Kimberly
This post is part of a series for my sister’s birthday month to ignite inspiration, joy and connection. Week 1 is about starting the month with a “clean” mind and energised spirit. Week 2 is about finding your inner child. Week 3 is about self-love.  Week 4 is about vulnerable acceptance and week 5 is about appreciating the gift of being alive.

One summer evening, my sister and I decided to get creative with photography. Elizabeth told me about light photography using sparklers to ‘draw’ in the air. We walked to a nearby convenience store to pick some up. We waited until it was dark and then went out to the back field behind our house. Sabre, our dog joined us as we took turns lighting up sparklers and drawing in the air.

I chose this image because it works perfectly for the theme of this week: self-love.

My sister had a terribly critical inner narrator, she was very hard on herself. If she was still here today, there would be so many things I’d tell her. But the biggest one would be changing the way she talked to herself. I would simply not allow her to go alone in her room with these toxic and harmful thoughts swirling around in her head.

I admit I can have a very critical self-talk too, I think so many of us do. We may tell ourselves we aren’t good enough because we think it will help us perform better, but research has shown this is not true. Self-compassion may come across as some new ‘trend’, but it’s really just changing the way you motivate yourself to be more forgiving and kind. It’s about being an encouraging friend and cheerleader to yourself. It’s about remembering that mistakes and setbacks happen to all of us and they do not make us worthless. They are a part of being human.

I’m so passionate about spreading positive self-love, especially to people who have anxiety and depression. I really believe changing this inner voice can create a whole magnitude of difference in their lives.

Do not let a critical and unloving inner voice win and always remember this: You are a good person, you are worthwhile, you are loved, you are enough.

Please promise me you won’t forget this?

Monday, May 14:
Live Awake podcast – Sarah Blondin

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth! 

I saved this one for today because it’s my absolute favourite. As you can see, it’s not a quote but a podcast of beautiful poetic meditations.
Loving and Listening to Yourself is an excellent one to start your day with. It is so beautiful, all of her meditations are. Please, do yourself a favour and allow her poetic and loving words to seep into your brain. You cannot help but emerge from this feeling light and free! If my sister was here right now I’d demand she listen to this podcast every single day. I would’ve loved to hear what she thought of it.

Tuesday, May 15: 
“Perhaps we should love ourselves so fiercely, that when others see us they know exactly how it should be done.”

I believe that no amount of external love can do anything until we work on ourselves and understand our own mind and insecurities. We may not always be easy to love and none of us are perfect, but we should, as a duty, always do our best to be self-aware and understand ourselves. We must learn to befriend our inner narrator. We are in a life-long relationship with ourself, might as well make it pleasant!

loneliness is a sign you are in need of yourself - self love | Rupi Kaur

Wednesday, May 16: 
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

This is a perfect metaphor. It’s never too late to be the person you want to be. It’s never too late to start. Sure you could’ve done it while you were younger but that doesn’t stop you from doing it now. You can always start again, every single day, every single moment, is another chance.

Thursday, May 17:
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” 

We so often extend out kindness and compassion to people we care deeply about and forget to turn that same light inwards. Why? We deserve our own love and forgiveness just as much as anyone else. We deserve to make a comfortable and loving home within the cage of our bodies. After all, it’s in these bodies we live and in these bodies we die. We might as well make a nice home for ourselves in the meantime!

Friday, May 18: 
“I am learning to love the sound of my feet walking away from things not meant for me.”

I find this so empowering. There are always going to be people and things in your life that are harmful and dragging you down. Walk away.

Saturday, May 19: 
“I know now that we never get over great losses; we absorb them, and they carve us into different, often kinder, creatures.”

Pain and suffering can be a beautiful gift and our greatest teacher. No matter what happens to us in life, we can transform it into something bigger and better than anything we could’ve ever imagined. We can emerge from the darkness as more compassionate, kind and gentle people.

Sunday, May 20: 
“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

This quote is by the amazing psychologist William James who introduced ideas on neuroplasticity back in the 1800’s. I wrote about him and his theories in Breaking Habits. My sister would have loved it! It is so hopeful and exciting to know that our brains can be rewired. How cool is that? Our minds are like plastic and they can be changed with deliberate and consistent effort. Every day. You are never stuck, you can always change yourself and live the life you want.

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