I have felt compelled for a while to write something about the ‘misconceptions and perceptions’ around what it is to be happy and healthy.
Less than a year ago, I launched LYL, just as an Instagram account initially, and wanted to give my outlook on life, health and happiness. I coin what I do ‘self love’, but unfortunately I’ve fallen into what I feel is a slightly narcissistic, ‘trendy’ label at the moment, when in fact, what I celebrate isn’t quite the same.
Now I must start out by saying, I by no means ever want to ‘preach’ that my method is the only method, because I have always said that different models work on different individuals, because we are all so fantastically unique. However, I would like to delve a little into what my term ‘self love’ means, and why it matters so much to me that it is seen for what it is.
Anyone who is on Instagram, or even Facebook now, will no doubt have seen accounts that claim to ‘enlighten’ you, or take you into immeasurable success that you could never imagine possible, whether it be financially, spiritually or physically.
I think my bug bear with these particular programmes, is that I would (quite arrogantly) argue that I am one of the most positive people on this planet. (Big sweeping statement alert!) But seriously, I always find a reason for things to be ok and I always seem to cope. But, interestingly, my positivity is not what gets me to any kind of success. It is in fact, my ‘reality’. I really worry that a lot of these concepts thriving on positive attitude are creating a huge group of people who feel they are not enough, or that they are failing in some way. That really frustrates me, because in reality, have you ever been for a drink with a friend who’s genuinely got their shit together? (I’m talking about your real mates here!). I don’t want this focus to result in people feeling lost.
I don’t like to use the word hate, because hate is such an extreme emotion for something I actually feel very little emotion for. But there are a few categories of people I struggle to genuinely connect with where my instinct always tells me something isn’t as it seems, and to date I haven’t got it wrong when interacting with an individual from these groups.
Now you’ve seen these folk. The ‘business entrepreneurs’ that claim you will make 6 figures in 3 months by listening in on their 45 minute webinar and claiming if you give them £12,000 they can give you the golden answer. The ‘gym brigade’ who try and invalidate your feelings of depression by thrusting a kettle bell into your gut (I will expand on this later.) I also find difficulty connecting with the Mum who always looks immaculate and who claims their child is the pure reason for their existence living only through their eyes. Give it a rest, we all know you’ve told them to fuck off in your head at least once this week, so just admit it.
In short….false image. The perception that by being like them you will get your life figured out, but the misconception that they have their shit together in the first place. This is of course a HUGE generalisation, and if you are a Mum who’s never told your child to fuck off in your head, then throw some tips my way because I’m gunna need ’em!
The term ‘self love’ to me, seems to have become a huge statement that needs to be made, by declaring outrageously groundbreaking successes in order to celebrate who you are. It paints an image of a serene life with no hiccups and it’s just not real in my very average world. Even as someone who has ‘nailed it’ in terms of health and happiness in my eyes, it doesn’t mean I skip through my day stopping at every window or mirror to throw myself a cheesy thumbs up shouting ‘great day Kelly’ before I prance to my next activity.
Let me give you an example. Yesterday we went for the 12 week NHS scan. We were late arriving because Kev had to rush back from work. I had an insane amount of emails and messages work related throughout the day, and had bought a sandwich for lunch on the way as I hadn’t had time to eat yet and was starving. No time to eat on the way answering emails and then we were late coming out. This meant a mad dash to pick up the dog before I shot off to work, speed emailing in the car on the way back, replies coming in faster than I could respond too and still, yet to eat any lunch (4pm). This eventually resulted in an argument between Kev and I because I was short tempered answering his perfectly reasonable question about who I was emailing for the 3rd time. I lost my shit. Why? Because it had been over an hour since the scan and I hadn’t even had the chance to look at a photo of my baby because I was run ragged sorting out everything at once. He stormed off and told me I was a dick. I cried all the way to work and still didn’t look at the pictures until an hour later when I got there. Nothing much in fact happened yesterday of any huge significance with regards to self love. I taught my dance classes, dealt with my orders for the day, spent time at my parents helping to look after my Mum and collapsed into bed at 11.30pm thinking ‘thank fuck it’s bed time’at which point I stared at my scan pictures eyeing up every detail. What’s easy to forget, is that actually the smallest things we do for ourselves are acts of self love.
I didn’t cry in front of my dancers. I got my shit together and taught good classes, and made their evening good fun.
I spent time with my Mum and enjoyed making her giggle before bed.
I cherished being in bed, and thought how cold it was outside and how lucky I was to be tucked up in bed, and that snapshot and reality check allowed me to feel happiness before I fell asleep.
I call it the ‘pull your big girl pants up’ method.
It sounds like a bit of a ramble, but what I am trying to say is, don’t get lost in the shit people post about on social media. You can have a shitty day and still be a happy person. You can still self love, without the ‘grand gesture’ and in my personal experience, letting go of what everyone else is telling you to be is literally the most liberating way you can self love ever. Just say ‘fuck it’ and do what makes YOU exist freely in that moment because who actually has time everyday to do something massive for themselves. Self love to me, is about BEING YOU. Not imitating anyone else or faking how you feel. Sometimes you really must make the time for yourself and I am the worlds worst for drowning in work. I am downing tools this weekend and I am baking, and nothing is going to stop me from doing it because I know I deserve it. But don’t feel compelled to move mountains every single day just to prove you are healthy and happy.
Love Yourself Lean was designed to give you a loose platform to design a life that suits you, that fits in emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually to what YOUR life is like. The yoga instructor who teaches at retreats around the world is going to have a very different journal to the Mum, who works full time and spends most of her spare time running around doing stuff to make others happy. Both are valid levels of self love, and both are subjective to that persons life and that persons journey. The key is to use the journal to acknowledge where you can make a shift in how you treat yourself. It’s about working out what makes you tick, and measuring the level of self love you can give yourself that day.
It might surprise a lot of you to know I spent part of my life on anti depressants. They helped me to regain focus on how to heal myself and work out what I needed, and to me that is self love in every sense of the word. Dealing with a terminally ill parent from a young age will take it’s toll on anyone, no matter how positive you are. But to me, that reach for help was nothing but self love. It’s respecting yourself enough to know when you need help and focusing on the action of moving forward. In those days, getting up and getting dressed was my self love for the day. I made it outdoors and that was enough for me. I feel there is this whole stigma around ‘happiness’ that makes a lot of people suffering with depression, anxiety or other mental or physical battles feel like they can’t ‘join the club’ and it’s just not true.
For me, the half of my strap line ‘HEARTFELT HAPPINESS’ is there to express that whatever level of happiness you are experiencing, make it heartfelt, because 10 minutes of heartfelt joy each week compared to 24 hours, 7 days a week of pretend happiness is always going to win. Be grateful, and practice gratitude but be pissed off when you need to be, and sad when you need to be, because they are very normal emotions that we all have a right to feel….and a need to feel. Who knows what happiness is without them right? To pick up on my earlier point about ‘gym buffs’, physical exercise WILL help raise your mood levels, as it is proven to release endorphins in the brain that on a mental and physical level make you feel happier. But you know what, some days, it runs a little deeper than that, emotionally and spiritually you need to focus on you, and that is not only ok, it’s fantastic and ground breaking for your health and happiness long term.
The majority of my close friends have often been drawn to me because of my honesty, and my ability to do what I feel is right FOR ME, without fear of any judgement from others. I can’t tell you how liberating it is to literally not give a shit what people think of how you live your life. Be good to people, but do your thing and own it like a queen! I’ve said it before, a good friend once told me, ‘as long as all you do is with kindness and good intention, you can not go wrong’. This is a message I’ve kept by me for a long time now. I truly believe that we should celebrate the ebbs and flows of life, and be honest when we have a shitty day, and laugh until we wee when we feel like it.
It is the key to everything.
I would like to finish by saying there are people out there who are hugely successful through using their own models, designed on drive, determination and positivity, and I salute you all I truly do! I wish everyone great success. This blog is me speaking out for the group of people who constantly feel like they haven’t quite mastered the ‘self love’ train. I hope it helps you to feel more free in who you are and remind you, you are always welcome in my #selfloveclub
(Self love blogger who doesn’t always have her shit together)
PS. Here’s the little tinker! Place your bets now! I reckon it’s a girl