I know now why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
One evening after a very heated argument with my daughter; anger in her eyes she turned to me and said, “Happiness comes from within, you create your own happiness. Get your shit together. You have to love yourself before you can possibly love anyone. Look at all your failed relationships; they didn’t last because you can’t even love yourself”!
After many tears in my room, it got me thinking, she was right. How could I possibly move on with my life if there was so much inner hate? I made a decision then; I would make a concerted effort to work on my life and my self-happiness. There were places I knew exactly where I needed to start.
Why not start the series at the beginning.
I begun by making an appointment to see the dentist, which due to a huge phobia, I hadn’t been able to go to for over 20 years. I knew, it was a small step, but this was the start of bigger things, baby steps in respecting me.
The next thing I tackled was looking into registering for my undergraduate degree. It is something I have wanted to do for more years than I can remember. Except not having a matric, I had to wait until I was after 45. And boy did this come with its own difficulties.
And then the last thing was to get myself, my body and mind into shape. I joined the gym. As I said, baby steps into self-love and respect.
So what came out of all that, you have to love yourself before you can truly love someone with your whole heart. It got me thinking about my own daughters. How could they love themselves, if they’d never had a very good example from their own mother?
The below poem is by Nikita Gill. (Buy her book) or follow her on Instagram. She will change your perspective on things.
This poem below is long, but push on through, it’s worth it. Not only for those who have daughters. But to those who don’t. Allow it to speak to the inner daughter within you.
Tell your daughters how you love your body.
Tell them they how much they must love theirs.
Tell them to be proud of every bit of themselves- from their tiger stripes to the soft of flesh of their thighs, whether they be little or a little curvier, plentiful or slim.
Whether their hair is thick, curly, straight, long or short.
Tell them how they inherited their ancestries’ souls in their smiles .That their eyes carry countries that breathed life into history.
That the swing of their hips does not determine their destiny.
Tell them to NEVER listen when their bodies are critiqued.
Tell them that everybody’s body is beautiful because every soul is unique”.
And this dear is readers how self-love starts…..
But don’t become down hearted, if your mother never told you, If your mother never told you all of the above…There is still hope.
Start by standing in a full length mirror. (With no one around obviously)And take a good hard look at yourself. Then begin writing down all the things you love about your body. Examples, your eyes, ears, your hair.
Now comes the hard part…. Then things you hate, but things you can change. But then the things you dislike and can’t change, accept them, start by beginning to love them. Remember you are unique in every way.
They are who you are, those saggy boobs (unless you win the lotto are not going to change lol) they breast fed a beautiful child and gave it the nourishment it needed!!
But you have to make a conscious decision to love those parts of you. Accept them. This is how self-love starts.
I believe self-help books have their part to play in our lives, but I found the above method works!
Over a year, I have found that the acceptance of my body has helped me work on other areas of my life. I never thought I could. But you have to commit to loving one part and the rest will follow.
Below are things that will also start the process.
Loving your body is not the answer to everything, but it’s a damn good place to start. You will find your own path and destiny.
There are a few things to immediately to start the processes….In my humble opinion….
- Dye you’re hair some shocking colour, something you have always wanted to do
- Have your nails done, make sure to make them funky, if that’s your thing
- Go for that massage you’ve always wanted to have, treat yourself
- Do something you have been meaning to do, that you thought people might judge you disapprovingly.
- Join a club of some sort, meet new and interesting people
- Most importantly give yourself some “me time”. Come home from work close the door and gather yourself. I promise the house will still be standing afterwards. Meditate, have a glass of wine and think of you and only you. If, like me, you have older children, take a long leisurely bath. But the main thing about this time, it’s only about you.
- Have that tattoo, if that’s your thing. Do something that you have always wanted to do before society changed you.
I know now why the caged bird sings, she knows nothings else, but her surroundings and she is comfortable in her space.
Let’s enjoy our freedom, shout it from the roof tops. And most importantly, like the caged bird, love and accept yourself and your surroundings. Love yourself first and other love will follow, let’s create the lives we’ve always wanted to live!
Sylvia Rose’s Story is published by Joburg Gypsy – currently on a monthly cycle.
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