Sunday, 6 December 2015

Four Steps to Making Friends With Yourself

Sunday 6th December
(306 days since the Secret Experiment began)

 So I’m home alone this afternoon after a great morning recording a radio show- exciting! This time last year being home alone would have meant a very different experience because a voice in my head would have been telling me to take the opportunity to binge - it was a constant battle with what I thought then was my own voice. Later separating that part of my mind  from who I really was played a big part in saying goodbye to an eating disorder but at that time I could see no way out of it, and it was mentally and physically exhausting. 
Most of the time from November 15' to Jan 16' there was an argument going on in my head about whether to eat or not.  Then I would give in. Binge and overeat without even tasting. Purge- followed by a few moments of relief then the crippling guilt about what a horrible and disgusting thing it was to do and then start over again.
 Those three months were the extreme for me and led me to my rock bottom.

I'm grateful now for that pain which became intolerable  so that I had to face it . I had to look at myself and ask was this a life I wanted to live?  

Now I want everyone who has known the pain of not feeling good enough, or who is waiting for something external to make things better. Anyone who thinks maybe its only a silly childhood dream to think you could be happy  and that real life is meant to be stressful and a bit of a struggle that  only the "lucky ones" live amazing lives.

It doesn't work like that. You can start to live your best life right now.

For twenty years I was waiting for happiness and I sabotaged it by thinking to get it I had to have a perfect body for some people maybe its money, career, relationship, home any number of things.

I was the person that started a new diet every week and have probably been on every diet going my discipline was something that people admired which only added to the guilt on the nights that I would eat all the “bad” foods in secret. An argument in my mind about whether or not to eat was a constant companion - whether or not I should allow myself something. Same with trips to the cinema, nights in, nights out, family gatherings, tea breaks in work - everything had an association with food for me and used up so much of my energy.

At Christmas a pressure to be perfect seems to touch many of us this season made stronger when we don't allow ourselves to just be who we are, trying to live up to what we think other peoples expectations are. Imagine the relief of none of that pressure. Well the only person that can take it off is you and you do that by treating yourself as a friend.

Last October I  finally got the body I had been striving for all my life, stepping on stage as a bikini competitor - was I happy? Did everything suddenly fall into place? No. In fact the opposite was to happen. Realizing how it hadn't changed how I felt about myself, how empty and alone I felt. How much of my life and energy I had devoted to  changing my body, how many times I’d ignored my children or snapped at them because I was hungry and irritable, tears I’d cried before missed nights out thinking I was fat. Reaching that goal had fixed nothing because how could I be happy if I didn't even like myself? And how can something external change how we feel about what's inside?

So in January 2015 I decided that I was going to try something different, I was going to stop looking outside of myself and start looking within. I had always known that I hated my body but it was a shock to accept and realize that I hated myself too -how else would I treat myself this way.

Would you treat a friend the way you treat yourself?

It started as a way to simply feel better but it became the most amazing life changing journey  that continues every day. Along the way I separated who I truly was from the part of my mind that spoke only in negative self – talk and I learnt how to listen to and love myself.

We are born whole and full of love – that is our truth and it wants only the best for us. As life happens we pick up habits from our parents, we get knocked down, and we experience setbacks -with these come the space for that negative self-talk to creep in often accompanied by fear, doubt and negative behaviours.

As each day goes by we hear less of our truth. It's voice gets stifled and we forget that we are perfect as we are and that life is meant to be good. We begin to believe that the negative voice (I call it the Trickster) is our own and we begin to sabotage our happiness by listening to it.

This year by triggering good feelings through practicing gratitude, paying myself a compliment when I looked in the mirror ,learning how to stay in the present moment, and actively choosing to switch negative thoughts to positive. This all fed my true self and it's voice got stronger all the time weakening the voice of the trickster.
The stronger it got the louder it got until I was able to say I love you to the mirror and mean it.
Three words that often make people cringe when they think of saying it to themselves, if it does then I can promise you that work on that and everything in your life will get better and better.
Because it means you will allow yourself to be authentic, you won't feel less than anyone else, you won't need to put your happiness in the responsibility of someone or something else because you will be able to do it yourself.

Everything that has happened to me this year would have seemed impossible if you saw me a year ago. The relationship I have with my children, to be carefree around food, to know I am so much more than my body, to be travelling to California in February to the launch of 20 Beautiful Women Volume III, to be living my dreams and to go to sleep each night wanting to be myself the next day.

 No matter where you are in life whether it is food and your body that cause you stress and unhappiness or anything else, know that life isn't meant to be full of stress and unhappiness and that truly successful people who live fulfilling lives they love have all looked within and worked on their relationship with themselves.

So if you are making a new year’s resolution I promise that this is one that will radiate positivity into all areas of your life.


4 Ways You Can Start Making Friends with Yourself

1.     Imagine yourself as a child – how much love does a child deserve? Limitless. Each time you criticize yourself ask would you treat a child that way? You deserve as much happiness now as you ever did.


2.     Write a list of the positive things about you that have nothing to do with your  appearance, job, education, wealth, home, achievements. All the things about us that really matter come from within and are invisible, how we treat others, how we make people feel, kindness, gratitude and love you cannot physically see these things.



3.     Be kind to yourself and others. It feels good and things that feel good make it easier to feel good about yourself. Stand in front of the mirror and smile at your reflection. If it is too difficult to say “I love you” try “I am going to begin to be kinder to you”


4.     If anything has you in a frenzy this Holiday Season - perhaps getting ready for a night out, or hosting a party in your home, money for gifts - the present moment, the now is helpful. For me at first gratitude was the best (meditation took me a few months to master). Stop and for a couple of minutes look around you. Become aware of your surroundings,your body and the fact you are alive. Find one thing that you can be grateful for in that moment(maybe simply the fact you are alive). Then focus on it until you feel calmer, keep thinking about that one thing and how all the external stuff doesn't really matter.








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