14 February 2018

9 Lines of Self-Love #BeYourOwnValentine

I'm all about the rhymes this Valentines! Although 3 in one title may be pushing it... but I fancied doing something wild, as it's not like I've got any crazier plans for today. Yet before you think I'm wallowing in a purple pool of pity over this, I'm actually ready to dance in the purple rain!

*FYI, I have no idea why the pool is purple - I just happen to love alliteration almost as much as rhyming, and Love is what today is about. Actually

Yes, I'm single. Yes, I could go out and mingle, but that wouldn't be giving myself the most important love of all: self-love. Ok, it's time for an impromptu honesty-hour: self-love is also the most elusive love of all, at least when you're living in my head! I would dare to say that the 'Romeo and Juliet love' is easier to come by, despite having (finally) come to terms with the fact that Romeo isn't real. But Newt Scamander might be.

So as it's Valentines day - and self-love seems to be a theme in the Twittersphere - I've spontaneously decided to challenge my inner critic and write 9  Self-Love lines. Otherwise known as evidence:

"I am enough on my own, 
I am valuable as I am 
I don't need a man to be 
WONDERFUL ME."

   I AM CREATIVE  

*In my not so humble opinion*, my crochet house elves are rather adorable and I was actually tempted to ask Felix (above) to be my valentine.... yes, I am aware he is made of yarn and is also missing a bobble on his hat *note to self: find pompom maker* 

Crocheting is one of my favourite things and I am proud of how far I've come. I'm pretty much self-taught and rarely ever follow a pattern, preferring instead to stitch and switch it up as I go... yes, sometimes this results in an abnormally large thumb or Dumbo ears, but there's nothing wrong with #thatauthenticfeeling. We need more of it in the world! 

We also need more free elves, which I solemnly swear I am working on at present. My Etsy store is freeing up space and prepping the portkeys as we speak... 

   I AM DETERMINED   

I set up an Etsy store! If you'd told me this a year ago, I would never have believed you. When it comes to my crafting, I do still struggle with self-doub. Nevertheless, by opening my store and posting more of my creations on Instagram, I challenged that inner critic and listened to SOPHIE. 

The same can be said for some of my other adventures in recent months: I volunteered in a school last Autumn, I returned to University after a two-year interruption, I submitted my UCAS form, I attended 3 interviews in the space of 7 days... and I still found time for my magical menagerie! Like I said, 12 months ago all of these things would have seemed impossible, but by trusting in "possibility" I made them a reality. I deserve to feel proud and, in this moment, I am. I truly am.

   I AM A GOOD FRIEND  

Having lost contact with many people in recent years, particularly after pausing my degree, I  spent a lot of time believing I was  a 'bad' friend, "a 'bad' person and that I wasn't worthy of love from others. Through doing CBT, I've learnt to challenge this by looking at the counter-evidence. I have some truly amazing friends in this world, who have gone above-and-beyond in their kindness to me. 

In my recent 'favourites' post, I talked about the incredible girl who sent me a little felt bee - my 'patronus' - as a good-luck charm for my interviews! I didn't share the letter, as it is something that belongs just between us, but it was possibly the nicest thing anyone has ever written about it. I have it pinned to my noticeboard at University, as a daily reminder of the "good in me". 

If I wasn't a good friend, or a good person, would someone have taken that much time for 'little old me'? Would my wonderful tea twin have travelled to Bath on my 22nd Birthday, complete with a bouquet of flowers, if she did not think I was worth it? Though I may no longer shop at l'oreal (when will they go cruelty-free?!), their famous slogan is practically-perfect here: "You're worth it." I am worth it *5 minutes and a dozen rewrites later*. I AM WORTH IT.

   I AM THOUGHTFUL  

I just spoke about the wonderful things others have done for me, but I like to think I am a thoughtful person to... *Edit: I KNOW I am a thoughtful person too. Phew, this self-love life is harder than I thought! Just today, I met two of my favourite humans for coffee and and wanted to spread the valentines love. I popped into Tesco and bought two of their single stem roses, as I knew it would bring a smile to their face. They are both wonderful, kind, supportive friends, yet I know their own heads can make them doubt this. Never underestimate the power of one act of kindness, however small. 
   I AM NOT ASHAMED  

Speaking of the power of small acts, never underestimate the value of your voice. So far this month, I've written a post for Children's Mental Health week and made a video for Time To Talk Day. Publishing both of these was far from easy, as my head loves to convince me that "other people have more to say." Then I realised, that is all the more reason why I NEED TO TALK. 

I will not be ashamed of my past, as it's shaped who I am today and in many ways for the better. I believe it has made me more compassionate, honest and open-minded, all traits that I believe will help me as a teacher. I will never judge a child or colleague from where they come from, or have preconceived ideas about where they should go. Shame has no place in the mind of a child and I want to believe I can teach by example.



   I AM VULNERABLE   

When I think of my favourite fictional teachers  - namely Miss Honey and Professor Lupin - I think one of the greatest appeals is their vulnerability. If they were 'perfect' humans, they wouldn't be believable, which I suppose is the case for every person - imagined or real! Imagine if Dumbledore and Snape had opened up earlier on? Far from losing credibility, Harry only gains respect for them when he learns of their past. I am learning that it's okay to be vulnerable and, what's more, there is value in vulnerability. There is worth in acknowledging a lack of self-worth, despite how weak you may feel, because only then can you find a path forward.  

   I VALUE MEANING OVER MATERIAL THINGS 

Millie's wagging tail is worth more than all the gold in gringotts - I defy even the Niffler to argue with that! Some girls choose designer looks, but I'm happiest by the books in Waterstones, or carrying 14 books for the library (I surpassed my old record this term!)

What's more, I solemnly swear to keep my original copies of Harry Potter, despite the temptation to 'update' my collection with  beautiful new covers. Yes, the House Colour Covers may be RIDDIKULUSLY shiny, but there's something magical about my nearly-jacketless copy of Goblet of Fire, ft. bright yellow sticky tape on the spine (If only I had a wand...)

You will never see me at a MAC counter, or buying an 'on-trend' leather jacket, despite how 'likeable' they may appear. Ethics come before any 'insta-edits' and my furever friends come first. ALWAYS. The same goes for disposable cups, as I now use my ECOffee cup everywhere I go. My resolve will be tested at christmas, but I'm sure they sell reusable red cups too...

   I AM PUNNY  


Knock Knock. Who's There? A Harry Potter Pun.
.....
t
Hello?
......
I could have sworn someone was there.
......
I suspect the Nargles are behind it.
   I AM ME  

I've made no secret of my love for Luna Lovegood and she truly is my inspiration. The word "inspiration" is thrown around so much, I feel rather silly using it here. Nevertheless, I am going to stick with it because it is the word I chose; in other words, it is ME, and that epitomises Luna. Self-accenptance, self-determination and self-acknowledgement that, yes, you may be "a little different", but that's OK. 

It's okay to dance on my own without a care in the world (attempt to do the parent trap handshake with your dog); how to sing as if no one is listening (aka belt out "9 'till 5" as you remove your makeup... perhaps Lush could call their next cleanser "shake it off?); how to start a new chapter, even when others want to keep you on their page. 

Whenever I feel pulled by external scripts, whether it be self-criticism over an essay or the pressure to people-please, I think of Luna. I think of how she wrote her own story and I try to believe I can too. For what it's worth, my hand is far from steady. I have days where I think "me" is the last person anyone would choose to be. Yet as long as I can pick up the pen and keep writing, I am choosing to BE ME. 

 This took surprisingly longer than I anticipated - my poor sweet potato looks like Hagrid did the cooking. Suffice to say, by the time I got to #4 I was racking my brains and feeling pretty stumped. Perhaps this is a sign that I need to do it more often? I remember reading an article by Dawn O'Porter in Glamour (RIP), encouraging people to #ShoutAboutYou. I've become better about finding the silver linings in my life, no matter how small they may seem.

Nevertheless  when it comes to finding the silver linings WITHIN myself - who I am, rather than what I do - the process is altogether more difficult. Yet as I've learnt through experience, the harder things are, the more likely they are to stay this way... if they go unchallenged. So here's to more positive affirmations about myself. I may even am going start writing one at the end of each day... or perhaps we'll start with each week! I do have a dissertation to write after all and, as I said, this post took a while!

It would be wonderful to see other people join in. With the comparison trap of social media today, it's more important than ever to BE UNASHAMEDLY YOU. While St Valentine and Gilderoy Lockhart hand out their cards - and the High-Street comes up smelling of roses - let's give ourself the gift of self-love, even if just for one minute in the day. It may not be a bed of roses everyday, but perhaps it can keep the self-critical thorns at bay? At the very least, I'm determined to try!

What do you love about yourself?

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