My yoga teacher instructed the class to give yourself a big hug and say, “I love me!” the other day. Most people in the class giggled, a few people rolled their eyes, and a couple others took the request very seriously. What would you have done?
I was a giggler. A few years ago I would have laughed it off completely. Even though I giggled this time, I didn’t brush it off. All I could think about was the transformational power of self-love, as demonstrated by countless clients whose lives have been forever changed by the teaching we are now doing at Vegan Life Coach Academy.
For me, overcoming shame by learning to love myself unconditionally was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done (it only took me 35 years). It was also the most empowering thing I’ve ever accomplished. There is simply no way anyone can even come close to reaching his or her true potential and living a meaningful life without having unconditional love for oneself.
At some point in my teenage years, I created the story that I was not enough. Who I was and what I was capable of would never be good enough. I hid behind my strong conviction for saving animals.
For well over a decade, I suffered in silence. My passion for veganism was what got me out of bed every morning. Understanding my purpose on this earth, to fight for the rights of animals, kept me going – day in and day out – despite the depression, anxiety, disordered eating, distorted body image, and insomnia I was experiencing.
Although I knew logically what was going on, (I had my Master’s Degree in Social Work and recognized the shame) I could not for the life of me figure out how to truly love myself.
What I didn’t realize was the amount of courage it was going to take to heal. Why courage? As Brene Brown says, “The antidote to shame is vulnerability,” and when I finally was able to figure out how to share my story, without being attached to the outcome (other people’s opinions), I was able to finally take my power back.
Wondering how this relates to veganism, fitness, and the holidays? I’ll tell you!
First of all, veganism is all about acting according to your values, and as I teach in the Coaching Program, this requires you to be able to make conscious and mindful choices about what you eat and how you live. It is impossible to consistently make the choices that will serve you best if you don’t love yourself. When I say “serve you best” I mean physically, mentally, and emotionally.
When it comes to fitness, at the Vegan Life Coach Academy we talk about exercising because you love your body, not because you hate it. And how do you expect to love your body, no matter what shape you’re in, if you don’t love yourself as a whole being?
Last, the holidays are a time to spread love generously. Only when we love and take care of ourselves can we truly love and take care of others. It’s that simple. You can’t give away what you don’t have.
I encourage you to give yourself the most life-changing gift you could ever receive this year… the gift of self-love. Rest assured that your self-love will also be a gift to everyone around you as well.
If this resonates with you, and you’re ready to do the work it takes to learn how to eat, move, and live in a way that will bring you not only health and happiness but also a meaningful life, I encourage you to check out our new Visionaries Membership. We help our members face the blocks that are keeping them stuck and the hurdles that are standing in their way in order to put a game plan together for them to move powerfully forward in life. There is never a “right” or “convenient” time to dive into this tough, transformational work, so why wait? Let’s do this!