Charisma

At a dance workshop I met two of the most amazing people. They radiated the highest level of self worth that I’d seen in a long time, yet were the most likeable, genuine and caring people in the room.

The perfect balance they seemed to have struck left me completely in awe.

When I got to dance with the female instructor, she greeted me with the biggest smile and began stroking my hair admiring it for how soft it was. She must have felt it when she hugged me. I was taken aback at how friendly she was.

She was instantly comfortable with every person in the room and her adorable personality won each of us over instantly.

I still referred to them as a Brazilian god and goddess when I talk about them, and I don’t think I was too far off in terms of what they radiated.

They were charismatic beyond belief, but I couldn’t figure out why until I spent a bit more time with them later that night at a social party.

I think it’s a part of their contract for each international artist to come along to a party that night. The social dancing kind of party.

The artists are usually swamped with people wanting to dance with them and I can understand that this is intimidating or possibly draining on some nights.

I occasionally find them hiding in a side room to catch their breath as they are hounded by the next round of keen attendees wanting their moment with someone famous in our dance scene.

I rarely ask these international artists for a dance as I feel sorry for them being squealed at like a rockstar which some are visibly shy about. Others do enjoy the admiration, I’ll admit that.

These two were different.

Between them they asked every person in the room to dance at least once, making sure that no one was left out.

They were both totally focused on the person they danced with, making it at the right level so that we felt like the best dancer in the world for that one song.

So often the artist is looking around the room, visibly bored when dancing with someone.

They stayed in the room and had genuine conversations with each person, giving us their full attention even if it was only a few moments before the next person would come up and ask for a dance.

There was no queue, which there always is, and people hesitated to interrupt their conversations because we could each see that they were completely present and engulfed in whatever the other person was saying.

They gave 100% of themselves to whatever they were doing.

At the end of the night, instead of sneaking out, they came up to each and every person, gave us a giant heartfelt hug, genuine smile and a thank you for the dances/conversation.

I then realised what made them so enigmatic, and what true charisma boils down to.

True charisma isn’t about saying hello, it’s about being so amazingly excited and grateful to have the chance to do so.

It’s about giving 100% of yourself to whatever you are doing in that moment.

It’s also about being unapologetically you.

Not everyone would be that friendly, but their kindness and enthusiasm were both so genuine that it was well received by even the hardest hearts in the room. They were unapologetically them and we loved them for it.

How do we get to this stage?

Charisma is more than the external attributes I just mentioned that is visible to others. There’s a deep level of self respect involved to be able to give that much of yourself and be so genuinely you in each moment.

In order to become charismatic, and a person that people genuinely flock to, it starts with us.

We need to care for ourselves first, so that when we need to or choose to, there’s so much love, enthusiasm and kindness to give.

It’s like the bonus round in our quest for self worth. It’s the level where we learn to remain humble and present to the needs of others, while putting our needs first in total harmony.

Self respect is an ongoing journey, and even once we get there it still takes focus in a different kind of way. The payoff though is a life that you love and being who you truly are, unapologetically in every area and moment of your life.

That to me is worth all of the failings, all of the highs and all of the lows as I reach for it.

It can seem so tedious or unattainable at times, and we can lose our way so it’s important to keep our goals front of mind whatever they are.

Find what works for you and keep your eye on the prize. Then maybe you’ll create all eyes on you.

Much love,

C

Just ask

At dinner recently, my date pointed out that something he really likes about me is that if there’s something on my mind, particularly about him or us, I just ask him without sending myself into a tizzy over it.

Not many people do, he said.

I was temporarily perplexed, but then after a few moments I remembered that he was actually right. I wasn’t even originally like that but it is something I’ve been doing for so long I’d forgotten.

I realised quite some time ago that nothing good came from overanalysing situations or stewing over them for days, weeks or sometimes longer. It was a waste of energy and didn’t actually get me any further to a solution or answer.

This is because often the reason something was running around my head on high rotation was because there were pieces of the puzzle missing.

No matter how many times I would look at the situation, without those puzzle pieces I’d never be able to see the full picture.

Sure I could imagine what the puzzle pieces would look like, or the whole picture, but there were millions of possibilities, and I never could be sure which was right. So one day I gave it up and just started asking.

This brought so much freedom. It freed me up from a huge amount of mental clutter, anxiety and stress on a daily basis.

It wasn’t until this lovely compliment that I remembered what my life used to be like – a constant roundabout of not knowing, speculation and dragging other people in to get their opinion then still not knowing for sure.

How exhausting!

Depending on the situation and the stage of my life the inability to get off this round about was normally from either not thinking to go to the root cause of the issue/situation, not having the confidence to ask or fear of possible conflict.

Today however I value my mental space more than to waste time and energy wondering.

If I am worried about something, I ask. If I’m not sure if I’ve misinterpreted something, I ask. If I’ve got something on my mind, I raise it with the person.

That is another thing, I go directly to the source. Other people rarely hold the answers if it’s to do with a specific person or situation known only to few.

So I encourage you all, if something is on your mind, just ask.

To start, it might be easier to pre-think how you will ask, making sure that if it is a sensitive person or issue that the other person does not add additional negative meaning to your innocent question. In my experience however the more relaxed you are about asking and nonchalant, the less likely the person is to respond in a negative way.

Anyone who knows me is quite used to me piping up with ‘hey, random question…’ or ‘now don’t go adding subtext to this that isn’t there but I was wondering…’ or even simply ‘I’m a little confused about something you said…’. These are all non-confrontational, relaxed yet confident ways of addressing an issue or concern. Even my boss is getting used to me calling him into quick chats to clarify things.

If the person does choose to add extra meaning and get sensitive, this is often more about them than you. Stand your ground, diffused their concerns by reiterating your intentions and continue. Be careful not to reflect their sensitivity back at them and 99% of the time any issues can be diffused quickly and relatively effortlessly.

Do yourself a favour and take a mental load off. You might enjoy it!

Much love,

C.

How to say no and be okay.

I hate cancelling plans that I don’t feel up to going to. Sometimes it physically hurts me to do so.

Logically I know that I can’t push my body beyond where it can go without big ramifications, but still I struggle.

If there was any way humanly possible that I could have prevented the situation, well that little voice rubs my nose in it that I should have done that.

Life is a learning curve and we’re always going to be on an up and down cycle.

No matter where we’re at in life, how evolved we think we are, how organised, how together we have it, we’re never going to be perfect. We’re just human.

I’m human. Why is this such a hard thing to grasp?

We’re all deliciously messed up, muddling our way through life making mistakes every which way that we turn. I understand this intellectually, like most of you might too, so why do we need permission from others to do what’s best for us?

I know the steps to cancel with integrity and accountability.

Step 1: communicate as soon as you have an inkling that something may come up to either delay you, change things or there’s even the slightest possibility that you may need to cancel.

Step 2: be sincere and communicate what you can when. This gives the other person/people a chance to do what works for them as a result of the possibility of changes on your part. This is an absolute pet peeve if people miss these two steps, so I do my very best to always stick to them.

Step 3: if you have to cancel, apologise sincerely and do your best to minimise the flow on effects if there are any (such as paying back for a ticket, finding another person to replace yourself etc).

This isn’t a technique from a book, but it’s how I go through life and a pattern I know that I tend to follow.

If these three steps are followed, we’ve done our very best to minimise the inconvenience to them and that’s all that anyone can ask from us – that we do our very best.

The most important step, however is what comes after that. It’s the step for us. Forgive ourselves and let go.

This doesn’t mean being narcissistic and shutting down to the influence we have on other people if we’ve not held up our end of an agreement. It also doesn’t mean suppressing any feelings that we might be feeling.

Allowing ourselves to feel each of the feelings that have come up, depending on the situation is important. It helps us heal.

It’s important once this is done though to consciously step outside of the situation and find things to be grateful for. For me, it went something like this.

I’m so grateful to have such caring and understanding friends who understand and let me rest when I need to.

How amazing that I’ve now got some free time when this was supposed to be a busy day/night.

I might not be great at this just yet, but each time it’s going to get easier.

By changing our mentality it helps to stop us dwelling on what has just happened. That’s in the past, it’s done and now it’s time to look forward. So begin creating something new and wonderful to focus on.

After all, isn’t that what we want in life? More new and wonderful things to fill our minds, hearts and selves?

Much love,

C

Being brave

I think one of the bravest thing that anyone can do is pick themselves up after a major failure, and be graceful about it.

To be kind enough and patient enough to yourself during this period, while you heal, and get yourself and your life back together takes meal after meal of humble pie, and a type of tenacity that can really test you.

This kindness however is what seems to set those apart from those that fall down and don’t get back up and those that eventually do. 

I used to write a lot about humility at the start and maybe losing sight of this is where things started going off track.

When something big or small would happen, I’d ask myself the following three questions. Was I kind? Was I strong? Was I gracious?

You’d be surprised how quickly life can take shape when you keep these three things in mind.

You see the kinder we are to ourselves the faster we can move forward, and the stronger we become.

The stronger we become, the more brave we are and the more respect we give ourselves.

This eventually turns outwards, where we are so strong within ourselves that we can be kind and gentle to others. We begin to exude humility whether we realise it or not.

Then we may begin to receive, where it’s so important to be gracious. For whatever that may be.

These three things together can create a life that is off the charts amazing. But it takes constant focus and introspection to maintain this new way of being that’s so unlike what our culture promotes.

These things create a life that’s about giving to others quietly, being sure within yourself in a way that doesn’t need social media followers to validate, and a level of respect that lets us be so quietly content within ourselves that we’ve got plenty of awareness to help others.

That’s the kind of world I want to live in, and that’s what I’m so grateful my life recently has showed me both sides of.

Ego is complex. You can’t give when you are busy taking, but sometimes it gives you the initial kick in the pants you need before consciously choosing a more positive motivating tool.

Humility however, is the quiet achiever that I’m sure can change the world. It’s up there with trust, maybe even higher on the list of things that human nature lead us away from, but that the search for peace and a meaningful life lead us to master.

When things are good, humility is about seeing the gift of everything, every moment and being genuinely moved by the blessings you receive. It’s a quiet, deep thanks for everything that life provides you.

When you’ve gone off track, humility to accept your failures, to accept your perfect imperfection and forgive yourself well that takes guts.

Picking yourself back up while you’re beating yourself up however is even harder though. So be kind to yourself please in every facet of your life.

If things aren’t taking shape, are you doing the best you can at the time? If yes, then forgive and maybe reset your goals or look at what else you can do to grow or support yourself so you can be more.

You’ll never pick yourself up until you stop being the one who’s pushing yourself down to the ground.

Much love,

C

boy riding a bike smiling

The missing piece

Self is an incredibly complicated concept and can be interpreted in many different ways. For me, it’s the parts that make up me.

And I only recently realised what these are.

Our bodies are crucial and a no brainer for something that’s important to care for when we talk about self care. Eating nourishing real foods that fuel us, exercise and sleep are well documented and true facts in caring for ourselves.

Our minds are also superstars that have hundred of thousands of books and articles dedicated to how to care for them properly. Living in the present, positive thinking and meditation are a handful of ways to do this.

Soul, spirit or whatever you prefer to call it, it’s there and is fuelled by things that connect us to a higher way of being.

Accessing this part of ourselves isn’t just religion or spirituality. It can also be connecting with our creativity through artistic ventures, community through good deeds and volunteering, or the soul to soul connection we get from deep, meaningful conversations. There are also a myriad of ways to connect with and care for our souls.

Focusing on creating a balanced life earlier this year I was diligently focusing on each of these areas, with a lot of time spent reflecting, listening and learning.

I cared for my body, mind and soul daily, but something was missing. My passion and fire was burning out.

At first I thought I wasn’t doing enough, but then I saw that there was definitely something missing and began to reflect.

This is when the fourth house of self came into my attention. Heart.

Heart is passion, love, joy, laughter, happiness and total and utter bliss. When you are radiating that beautiful glow of someone who is completely content with where they are at and in love with their life.

This could be a part of soul, as each of these things are definitely also good for our souls but it really helped me to segment it out as an areas to specifically focus on.

Somehow in my focus I’d forgotten to live. To enjoy life. I’ve posted about this before and yep I slipped into it again without realising.

Topping up our hearts is so important. It’s our experience of life and should be filled with joy and laughter, passion and fun.

It doesn’t only mean a relationship, though that can also fuel our hearts. It’s making sure that love for life and passion and joy flows out of us. After all, how pleasant is it to be around people who are genuinely happy?

I don’t mean selfish or overcompensating, but a genuine, deep happiness.

That’s what I was missing.

So I remind you, if you’re reflecting on how to get yourself on track or are on your journey, remember your heart. Give yourself permission to be joyful, silly, playful and fun in whatever form that looks like for you.

Without it, we’re not whole or living our life to its fullest potential.

Give yourself permission and let’s have some fun.

Much love,

C

girl covering her eyes

Pitfalls of personal development #2

Eating disorders, depression, failure, relationship breakups, fights, turning into a parent…the this goes on for what we tell ourselves can’t or won’t happen to us because xyz. But sometimes, it can and sometimes it’s because we’ve ignored the warning signs for far too long.

Another pitfall of personal development is the refusal to see reality as it is. We tell ourselves to look at the bright side, and we should. We don’t indulge negative thoughts and try, try, try to make our lives better every day in every way.

This is all very good, but sometimes we can unconsciously use these small tactics as bandaid solutions to a much larger beast that is rearing its head for us to address.

If ever you find yourself in a situation where it’s just not working despite all of your conscious thinking or positive actions, perhaps its time to look on a bigger scale at what needs to change.

Sometimes life knows better than us and is doing its best to show us that something is out of line and ready to go.

I saw a video doing the rounds about some type of sea creature outgrowing its shell.

When the shell becomes too small, the animal become uncomfortable until the point that it can’t take it anymore, leaves its shell and takes cover for a period of time while it grows a new shell.

Then it returns to life, but eventually it becomes uncomfortable again and has to choose to leave its shell, find a safe space and grow another one.

This part of the story I’ve heard before, but what came next is what put some new perspective on it for me.

He added that if this animal was a human that it would have been prescribed antidepressants, mood stabilisers, pain medication and anti-inflammatories to name a few if it had visited the doctor. These would have allowed it to never leave its shell, which would have created a much larger issue.

Now I’d like to say that for some people, in some cases medication is very necessary. I’m not denying that or suggesting to avoid seeking medical help if necessary. But medication is not the whole answer.

Pain is a way of showing us that it’s time reflect, make some changes and grow. It’s telling us that something isn’t right and if we listen, we can be so much more than our current selves allow.

If we hide from this pain whether it’s in our lives or selves, we’re robbing ourselves of opportunities to grow. And sometimes if it’s REALLY time to grow, we can get into tricky situations by skirting around the edges.

That is where denial comes in.

What if the sea creature had done little things to make its shell more comfortable? It could have lost weight to make it fit, or distract itself from the pain.

Eventually it would have had to face the truth and well it might be a lot harder for it to leave its shell then rather than when it first felt nature’s pull to grow.

Denial is a nasty beast that can get us into some pretty tricky situations.

It might be big, it might be small, but if you’re brave spend half an hour focusing in and have a look around your life to see if there’s something you’re denying. Let your subconscious work its magic, and something may pop into your mind.

Then watch your world change.

Much love,

C

Finding your Central Park

There are no hard and fast rules anymore. Life is becoming more flexible around us in all areas, and we need to adapt constantly.

From someone who plays very well following instructions and rules, this is quite frankly doing my head in some days.

How do we manage this new way of living? We require both strength and flexibility.

This is something I realised some time ago, but with a busy life I’ve dragged my feet on. Recently however I’ve seen the connection to all areas of my life so am adding in little bits of both.

It’s not about being extreme with either of these things, it’s about balancing a few of them and understanding the link.

Strength and flexibility lend themselves to feeling strong, balanced and sure, which then allows ourselves the flexibility to enjoy ourselves as well.

This translates to both our minds and bodies.

If we are too strong, we can lose that softness that makes our experience of life so enjoyable. We become rigid in our thinking, and moving. This means that we may miss opportunities as we can’t turn to see them there waiting for us to enjoy.

If we are too flexible however, and don’t have any strength or stability we can find ourselves being swayed every which way. Mentally this can be exhausting and unproductive with us never really moving forward. Physically, it can mean injuries.

Some people work in phases, focusing on one then the other at certain times of their life or the year.

For others it’s seasonal. For some people they seem to innately recognise this need for balance and set up their lives with each of these things in a harmonious dance.

When I meet these innately balanced people, as you know, I really enjoy watching them. Their ways are perplexing but as a student of life I love to learn.

Recently I was chased around by a wasp, and it wasn’t the first time one had found its way into my room. There was no nest, and they’re not common in our area.

I looked up the spiritual meaning of this sign. I’m a firm believer that sometimes creepy crawlies are just that, but other times I can feel that they are there with a bigger message.

The wasp is all about defending their home and self with all that they have. There are tones of vengeance yes, but at their core, they are fiercely protective of what’s most important to them. This is a trait I certainly struggle with.

My Italian heritage and Taurus cusp nature means that I’m fiercely loyal to those I love.

Hurt someone I love and you’ll see a very different side of me. In this regard I’m in line with a wasp, but what’s most important in my own life as I’ve posted about so many times can fall by the wayside.

So how many of us would fiercely defend what’s most important in our own lives for ourselves?

I’ve never quite understood how one particular person I know manages the balance that he does.

Running a successful business, working out 6 days a week, being social, always appearing relaxed and with two small children and a family it’s amazing.

He recently talked about the concept of his Central Park from a book he was reading. It’s the thing that keeps us sane, just like Central Park in New York.

It balances out the craziness that surrounds this calm space, and without it, the whole city would fall into disarray. So even though it’s on expensive real estate that could be populated, New York locals know the true value of this space and protect it.

This particular person defends his Central Park in his life, because without it he’d go crazy. He respects its value and makes space for it.

If you take a moment, there’s certainly things in your life that you know when they fall away make your experience, or maybe even you, a lot less pleasant.

Do you compromise these things or fiercely defend them knowing the impact if they fall away?

It’s not about ego, it’s not about being inflexible or stubborn. Protecting what makes your life work is about respecting the overarching importance of these things, creating the space for them and protecting them.

It’s about preventing chaos.

That’s the message that I thought I’d deliver to you all. Find, make space for and protect your Central Park, whatever that is for you. You are worth it.

Then you’ve got a protected space to manage everything that goes on around it.

Much love,

C

Taming the workaholic within

A few months ago I read a comment from a favourite entrepreneur of mine, Lisa Messenger.

It was light heartedly but pointedly talking about wanting to meet the person who decided that we needed to work 9-5, 5 days a week and, well, not giving them the kindest reception.

Decades ago an 8 hour day seemed to be sufficient, and would provide the wage to support a family and stay at home wife if needed. They’d be able to afford a home, and when they left work, for most people, their work would usually end.

Now with technology it never ends. Nor does the expectation of us to be on top of everything minute by minute.

I was once reprimanded by a manager for a mistake that was made by a member of my team at 10pm on a Sunday.

What happened in that moment was nothing that my bosses had hoped. I was left asking myself why my team was being asked to do work at 10pm at night, and why I was expected to be overseeing something so late on a Sunday night.

The expectations of perfection, connection and commitment are essentially 24/7.

Perhaps it’s my digital marketing background but my entire working life has been about checking social media even at 2am on a weekend night to ensure that no trolls had posted inappropriate content, knowing that if I didn’t see it there would be ramifications.

This habit, as much as I was determined to leave it behind, reared its ugly head even when I was my own boss.

If I finished work late into the evening, there was a high level of guilt even if I allowed myself a half hour sleep in. Or if I wasn’t working all weekend, why not?

I had started out with such a harmonious balance, working efficiently for a certain amount of hours a day and then taking a break for some exercise. Then I’d do a final burst of work before using my night to do whatever I needed.

At the first sign of a crisis, that went out the window and I really struggled to get back into my chosen way of thinking about work again.

Every minute I spent not working I felt guilty, knowing that my business needed my attention but being resentful as I was so depleted myself.

What falling back into this societal expectation created was an unhealthy relationship with a business that was my passion, multiple health crises and a spiral that was draining the colour from my life.

One day after a friend delivered me a cold hard slap about the situation I’d gotten myself into, I spent over a week trying to find the golden ticket.

How on earth was I going to get both my health and my business back? Each took so much time and effort, and where was a wage going to come from while I worked on even just these two things?

Finally the penny dropped. My life shouldn’t be squeezed into the time I have left, my business needed to work around my life.

We’re only here for a limited amount of years, and I’ve given too many years already giving myself almost entirely to my employers with a tiny amount of energy spent on my health and even smaller amount given to enjoying myself.

Honestly, wake up we’re here to live! I’m in the lucky position to be able to control my hours, but even if you’re in a desk job is 10+ hours of overtime really necessary?

Have you set yourself up as the one who will always go above and beyond? Do others match your input or do they coast off your hard work? If it’s the earlier, are you really in the best workplace for you?

An employer should respect that people have lives too, and be wise enough to know that happy employees are the most productive anyway.

I wrote 2016 goals around treating my staff to monthly massages and a delicious team lunch. I also vowed to recognise when they went above and beyond in a way that resonated with them.

Had I done any of these things for myself? No. Had I been exactly like the totalitarian bosses who said that anxiety attacks were a sign that we were doing a good job. No!!

I left all of that behind, yet somehow those voices, those expectations and the need to overexert myself reared their head as soon as I wasn’t looking.

Thankfully, I’m back. I have a more tangible understanding of how to create this in my life that I actually didn’t have when I stumbled upon work life balance earlier.

That had been for self preservation, after working 80+ hours for too long juggling agency life and starting a business. I was on the brink of a major health crisis and that was the real cause for my commitment to balance.

Now, it’s because I am here to live a life. It’s because I deserve to enjoy myself, and because I’m no longer a slave of someone else’s selfish desire to get the most out of me for their own benefit.

I am the master of my life and I’m going to have one. A real life.

I may still do more hours, but knowing that I’ve taken care of myself first and foremost gives me that fuel in the tank to make an informed decision after weighing up all of my and the company’s needs.

I feel like I’ve just smashed through a coating, and can see the ties to the old way of doing things crumbling around me in every area. And it feels good!

Even if it starts with taking one lunch break a week for you, you deserve to come first too.

Much love,

C

Honouring the best

Around this time 10 years ago a very special soul left my life, and this world forever.

I was 19, and she was my mum.

On her headstone I wrote that she’d been too pure for this world to keep and I stand by this.

Mum was the first person I knew who always had plenty of love for everyone around her, and that was pretty amazing to grow up with.

She was the kind of person who made everyone feel special. She had a way about her that had strangers sit next to her on benches and divulge their secrets. She had kind eyes, and a smile that made everything better.

I grew up wanting to be her, and her death left me wanting to make her proud. I swore I’d live the life she missed out on.

This decision cast a shadow for a long time as I tried to do this. 

Eventually as I got older and started to figure out who I was, I began to see her as my imperfectly perfect starting point to mould how I want to be. Not the blueprint.

Her kindness, compassion, strength and inner beauty are all things I aspire to keep within me, but her inability to put her own needs anywhere on the list is not. That part won’t get me anywhere that I want to go.

I wanted to be her yes, and honour her memory, but I also grew up and wanted more for my life. I want to be the change in the world she never believed she could be.

She had aspirations of her own – of helping people in need, creating success and purpose but instead she settled with finding it within her family life. She did her very best to be our world, and sometimes we weren’t the most appreciative audience.

By her choice, and for our family, she never got to create a life that she dreamed of. A life where she was more than she grew up believing she could be.

She made sure that I grew up differently, and filled my head with the knowledge that I could do anything that I set my mind to.

With her still in my mind, I know I can.

I can do this because grown from where she started.

I’ve learned that I have to be me, and that doesn’t mean I won’t love her still or honour her life.

It hurt to let go of that, but it was a kid’s way of thinking and I’ve grown up.

We can’t help anyone if we don’t care for ourselves first. This is a lesson by now you’ve heard me talk about quite a lot. It’s a work in progress but always on my radar.

When you’ve spent 20-something years putting everyone else first, learning a new way of being is like a baby giraffe taking its first steps.

First you fall, look around and realise that things are not okay. Then you look up and see where you want to go, and everyone around you doing their own thing.

From here you learn how to move your feet, then how to straighten your legs, and then move both parts together. Soon your head is raised and you are free to explore and play without any thought required.

So this is for you Mum. Your life taught me how important it is to stay soft in a world that tries so hard to make us hard. Your death taught me to be strong, and my life since has taught me how powerful it is to combine the two. 

Much love,

C

Part 2: The day that I threw out my scales

Working again with my beautiful kinesiologist, we dug deep into the issue of my eating.

It was confronting, and terrifying with a lot of layers and levels to get through. We eventually got to the root cause of my need to stop eating.

It was as though this pattern had completely disappeared. It didn’t even occur to me to skip a meal and I finally had found some peace.

What I didn’t expect was that there was more to get through.

There was the flip side which was over eating to cope with the huge amount of emotions which were now coming to the surface. I’d never learned to cope with them authentically as I’d either stopped eating to control them, or over eaten to suppress them.

I very quickly put on quite a few dress sizes, jumping from barely a 6 up to a good size 10 then even maybe a size 12.

It took a lot of mindfulness, but I refused to limit what I craved in any way to prove to myself that the pattern was truly broken.

Eventually I saw however that this cycle as it continued was also not healthy. I was eating non-stop and having panic attacks when I would stop. This too was an extreme version of what I wanted to be.

With some more help, patience and persistence I eventually realised that loving our bodies isn’t about limiting our food, nor is it about eating anything and everything. It’s about peace and respect.

If we’re hungry, we should let ourselves eat.

If we physically, not mentally, crave a food then our body probably needs something in that food.

Listen carefully and the answers are there, though sometimes not on the surface. Figure out what it is really crying out for.

Sugar cravings may be a sign of low insulin and that you need a piece of fruit, or more protein in your diet longer term to help ease these energy spikes. Maybe you even need magnesium and rest to naturally recharge so that your body is less reliant on instant food energy.

If you “feel” like eating a whole tub of ice cream well sometimes that’s okay too. Just get to the bottom of why you wanted it once you are done so it doesn’t become a habit.

There are probably some emotions you’ve got to unbury, or you are severely in need of more energy and that’s the fastest way your body knows how to get it – via sugar.

Our bodies are constantly communicating with us, and if we listen they very clearly tell us what they need to remain healthy, strong and keep us feeling great.

By listening, there’s no need to limit food or follow the strict guidelines of a meal plan.

Our food requirements change as our lifestyle changes, and our bodies know this and share it with us.

But there are still those scales that we force ourselves to get on.

I had been doing incredibly well recently and eating what I felt I needed each day. I felt strong.

I could see my body slowly slimming down and a good amount of healthy muscle building up again.

Then I jumped on my scales.

That number brought back every controlling voice I’d had during those 11 years, and made me want to curl up and hide from the world.

I’d gone from feeling healthy, strong and good about a body that was slowly returning back to a state of optimum health, to cancelling plans with a friend that night because I didn’t want to leave the house.

I decided that I was unworthy of a fun night out with him, our friendship and to be seen in public because of a number on a scale.

Nothing has the right to make me feel that way. I had given this piece of technology and plastic too much power.

I gave it that power and I could take it away. So I threw out my scales forever.

That is the moment that I finally let go of eating disorders on all levels. It’s the moment I decided I was ALWAYS worthy of love from myself and others, and that I am worthy of all of the amazing things that this life has to offer.

Learning to listen to what my body truly wants and needs is the only diet I’m interested in now.

Whether it’s a number on a scale or number on your jeans, this does not dictate who we are, or what we deserve.

We are so much more than that.

We are a soul, we are a heart, we are a mind and we deserve to be loved, happy and fulfilled ALWAYS.

There will be times when we need a bit of extra weight for one reason or another, but if we keep listening to what our bodies really need we’ll find a happy equilibrium minus the control, panic and mental abuse cycles.

We’ll find our happiest, healthiest version of ourselves every day. That’s the measure that matters.

Much love,

C