Why Self-love Is A Long, Difficult Journey

The truth is, learning to love yourself isn’t easy. It doesn’t happen overnight. If self-love was as simple as declaring, “Hey, I woke up this morning and decided to love myself,” then the world would be a much happier place. But it’s not that easy and unfortunately, some of us never learn to fully embrace who we are.

I was recently speaking to a friend who preaches a lot about the importance of self-love. The way she tries to spread this positive message is inspiring, so I asked her how she started to love herself. She said that for a long time she wasn’t happy with who she was. This self-hatred was formed through years of bullying and abuse. She thought that she would never reach a point where she could honestly say that she loved herself, but here she is, trying to motivate others to do the same.

So, how did she get to where she is now? It started with self-care. It’s so easy to overlook the importance of self-care, but trust me, it’s a lot more than a bubble bath and a glass of wine. It’s about taking care of your mind and body. Like I mentioned before, this isn’t something that happens over night, which is why you should celebrate every small victory.

I’ve found that rewarding yourself for completing tasks or challenges is a good way to practice self-love. It also gives you the motivation that you need. Knowing that there’s something good just around the corner makes it all seem worth it.

However, I’ve read a ton of articles on the topic of self-love and I have to disagree with the message that some of them try to communicate. One phrase that I’ve heard far too many times is, “if you don’t love yourself, you can’t love someone else.” Let me tell you, it’s not true. Since when does not loving yourself stop you from loving others? It doesn’t. I can love and appreciate and accept other people a lot easier than I would myself. And I know that’s the same for many people. We find so many faults and flaws in ourselves but we’re willing to overlook them in someone we love. Maybe it’s because we set too high expectations of ourselves; we feel a pressure to act and look a certain way.

We are our biggest critics and that’s why self-love is a difficult journey. We compare our lives to other people who seem happier, richer, luckier, without knowing their hidden struggles. We find things to dislike about ourselves because it’s easier than accepting who we are. But we shouldn’t use this as a source of negativity – we should use this as motivation to be the best version of ourselves.

So how do you love yourself? Well, maybe you should start with liking yourself first. Make a list of goals. Start a new hobby. Get off social media. Plan a holiday. Treat yourself to something you’ve wanted for ages. Don’t question why you’re doing it – it if makes you happy, do it.


When Life Feels Overwhelming

I can only describe it like this: You haven’t learned how to swim yet but suddenly you find yourself in the deepest part of the ocean with no life jacket and no one to call for help.

It’s overwhelming.

I think in some ways we’ve all been there. We feel like there are not enough hours in the day. We want time to slow down but we also want it to stop. But time doesn’t stop, which makes it feel like we’re racing through life with no clue what we’re doing and where we’re going.

It comes down to the concept that we’re running out of time. We trick ourselves into believing that everything should be happening RIGHT NOW. And when life doesn’t work out the way it should it makes us feel like failures – that’s when the feeling of overwhelmingness hits us.

It’s a feeling that I experience more than I should. Maybe it’s because I’m impatient, or maybe it just seems like everyone else is always two steps ahead. Either way, there’s always something occupying my mind. I worry about work and meeting deadlines, I worry about my weight, I worry about the future, I worry about making plans, and most of all I worry about things that I have no control over.

I want to hide away from everything and lie on my bed staring up at the ceiling and think about nothing at all.

I’ve found that whenever I feel overwhelmed it’s because I’ve been neglecting my own needs. And believe me, it’s so easy to forget about the little things but those little things make me the happiest. Discovering and reading new books is something that makes me so happy, and it helps to take my mind off my problems. Unfortunately, I can’t read all day every day (if that was my job, you’d never hear me complain) but if I can set aside even half an hour it makes all the difference. Another thing that always helps me is to write. It sounds counter-intuitive as sometimes writing is the reason I feel stressed, but other times writing is healing. It puts things into perspective. It’s easier to understand why you’re feeling so overwhelmed when you have the reasons staring back at you.

Sometimes, abandoning whatever you’re supposed to be doing is the best solution. It’s not giving up, it’s making some much-needed time for yourself. A few days ago I started writing a piece on managing anxiety but I couldn’t finish it. At the time I felt so overwhelmed with life that I couldn’t write anything positive and anything I did write felt forced. I know that if I’m not in the right mindset, I’m not going to be happy with anything I write. So I went for a walk and I didn’t think about work, deadlines, or anything that was making me feel stressed; I focussed on the good things. I thought about plans that I have coming up that I’m looking forward to. After about an hour, I was back working and getting things done.

Life is fast. Life is urgent. But life is meant to be enjoyed. Let go of what you have no control over and embrace what comes naturally.

Mental Health: Bad days (#1)

Side note: I created a poll on Twitter and asked people what they would like to read more of, and Mental Health got the most votes. I think the reasoning behind this is that Mental Health is a subject a lot of people like to avoid. That’s a shame, because the more people talk about it, the better it will be for all of us. Everyone needs some guidance, some encouragement, and some words of wisdom from time to time. I decided I would create a Mental Health blog series (is that already a thing? I’m claiming it as my own anyway) with the intention of reaching out to people who are struggling with Mental Health issues. It might not make any difference, but it’s definitely worth a try.

Isn’t it incredible how one, simple thing can impact our mood? A change in weather. An argument with a friend. A few words can flip everything upside down in a matter of seconds. It’s difficult to turn a bad day around. In your mind, you’ve concluded that the day is ruined, so instead of trying to pick yourself back up you admit defeat.

Of course, there are also days when you don’t choose to feel the way you do. You wake up feeling like a dark cloud is hovering over you, just waiting. And suddenly any courage or strength gets sapped from the body entirely and every part of you longs to stay in bed for the entire day, tied up in your own depressing thoughts.

Not everyone will understand it. You’ll try talking to your friends and they’ll offer you that familiar, pitying expression which you know so well and maybe a few words of comfort. Sometimes it helps, but mostly it doesn’t. You don’t want to hear that it will get better. You want to know that you’re not the only one to feel this way. You want someone to look you straight in the eye and tell you that you’re not alone. Or maybe what you really need is a distraction; a way to escape from the battle inside your own head.

Just as quickly as a good day can transform into a bad day, the scale can tilt the other way. There will be a time when you’ll feel okay, if not happy, and you’ll wonder if the bad days were really that bad after all. But you shouldn’t doubt yourself. What you felt in the moment was raw emotion and most importantly the realest thing you will ever experience.

It’s OK to admit that you’re not sure what direction you are walking in. It’s OK to tell someone that you’ve not been yourself lately. It’s OK to feel frustration, sadness and loneliness all at the same time. So forceful and unexpected that it confines you to the comfort of your own bed. It’s OK.

It won’t always be like this. When you’re having another bad day and you’re at the worst you have ever felt, wondering how you will go on, just think about those good days. Familiarise yourself with the feelings you experienced. If you felt happy once, even for a brief moment, it means you are capable of feeling that way again. Maybe that’s the encouragement you need.

Mental Movement would appreciate your votes in the UK Blog Awards 2017. They truly deserve it for all of their hard work! 


5 things that you should be grateful for

One of the reasons I decided to write this post is to act as a self-reminder of all the great things I sometimes take for granted. It might even put things into perspective for you. Inevitably, we focus on everything that is wrong with our lives, instead of appreciating what is right with it. Here is a list of all the things which make a positive impact on my life, and probably yours too.

  1. People

Family. Friends. Friends of friends. That nice old lady who you’ve spoken to on the bus. That helpful person who gave you directions when nobody else could. That person who picked up all the change you dropped on the floor and saved you from embarrassment. There are some great people out there, you just have to look.

  1. Animals

Every single animal on the planet is amazing. We learn a lot from them; love, companionship, loyalty. And they learn from us. Animals are a part of o
ur lives and society. You can’t always rely on people, but you can always count on the unconditional love from your pet. Never take them for granted. Ever.

15056514269_079d6553223. Books 

Crime. Fantasy. Science fiction. There’s a book for everyone. Books teach us, inspire us, move us. So read a book, or two, or several. Read until you feel like your head might explode. Just read.


Sometimes these stories keep us going; we live through them. And we create our own.

  1. Music

We need music in the world. Music is there for us; regardless of the mood you are in. Listen to those songs that make the hairs on your arms stand up. Listen to those songs that9628065221_2945686956.jpg make you feel good. Listen to those songs that make you want to get up and dance even though you’re the world’s worst dancer. Because music makes us feel.

  1. The necessities

Food. Water. A home. Good health. Often we forget the more important things in life. And often we forget about those who go without. Appreciate what you have. Always.



Understanding mental health

Many people will probably experience anxiety, depression and overwhelming feelings of stress and sadness at some point in their lives. In fact, in the UK, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem. Yet the main issue here is that these statistics often go ignored – mental health is not addressed how it should be. Most people suffering with their mental health do not feel encouraged to talk about it, which only worsens their condition because they are bottling up their feelings, which leads to further isolation. Even though it is difficult, I encourage people to talk to someone, anyone who can help in some way. Even just telling someone how you feel while they listen, can benefit you in so many ways. First of all, you won’t feel so alone. You’re not. There are so many people who feel exactly the same, and it’s important to remember that. Secondly, a problem shared is a problem halved. If you are having suicidal thoughts, talking about these feelings is the first step to recovery. Confide in someone who you can trust, someone who will help you get through this dark period in your life. There’s always someone who will listen to what you have to say. Lastly, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Even if you don’t see it, it is there. Keep searching. Keep going.

If you know anyone suffering with a mental health issue, try talking to them about it. It can make a world of difference.