I’ve written a few pieces in the past few years about true love. These pieces remain unpublished, or as love letters to my hubby, or sometimes half-written thoughts in my journal – but regardless, it’s a subject I turn to often because the words flow so easily.

The words true love and my marriage go together like peanut butter and jelly, so it’s an uncomplicated subject to write about.

On the other hand, the true love I’m going to talk about here has always been more of a difficult subject to discuss.

This kind of love is all about myself. This is a story about finally, after almost 38 years, falling in love with myself.

Honestly, I still get a little hung up about writing and publishing this because I feel like self-love gets branded as conceited and arrogant sometimes. Two adjectives that I know don’t reflect me one single bit.

Even the dictionary has it wrong:

Self-love: the instinct by which one’s actions are directed to the promotion of one’s own welfare or well-being, especially an excessive regard for one’s own advantage; conceit; vanity; narcissism (www.dictionary.com)

Through years of being really sick, and feeling the physical effects of that in every way imaginable, I learned the destructive act of hating my body. It failed me at every turn, so learning to love it wasn’t the easiest task.

When mental fatigue and brain fog were added onto the pile of symptoms I had the pleasure of knowing, I really started to hate my mind as well.

My heart and soul didn’t fare much better. I hated the fact that I was so emotional, reacting with tears at the drop of a hat and in recent years being so quick to anger. And I threw a roadblock down in front of spiritual growth and self improvement by limiting myself to the belief “this is as good as it gets…”

What got me out of that rut? A pretty good recipe of Therapy + Self-Development + Complementary Medicine + Mindfulness.

(All of those are chapters in The Healing Compass, except with much funner* titles – “Medicine For Your Heart”, “Your Brain Needs Fuel Too”, “Build Your Health Posse”, and “Be Here Now”.)

The road to discovering self-love was one of those single-lane, trees crowding in on all sides, covered in potholes – kind of roads. The kind that you start traveling down and think, “maybe I should just turn around…”

I am so glad that I didn’t turn around. I worked through a pile of crap. I healed my heart, and then healed my soul. This helped me heal my mind, and throughout all of it my body has been healing as well.

It wasn’t an easy journey (the most beautiful destinations are never that easy to get to…) but now that I’m here, I can look in a mirror and love every part of the woman I see. She is strong, she is kind, she is giving (to a fault), she laughs loudly (with more laugh lines than she cares to count). She has a stomach of scars and wears a bag of poop on her abdomen (to be politically correct, called an ostomy). She has stretch marks, forehead wrinkles, and grey hairs – all gifts from the loves of her life. She treasures the little things in life, inhales the smell of old books, dances around to tunes from the nineties, and dreams big dreams.

Photo Credit: Lyndsay Greenwood Photography

The woman I am today is exactly the kind of woman I want my daughters to grow into.

If you asked me if that was true two years ago, I would have cried and sobbed “noooo…” Even if the person I presented on the outside seemed to embody a lot of those same truths – the woman on the inside most definitely did not.

So, thinking back to the “One Day…” post from the other day. There is something I have been saying “one day” to forever. A boudoir shoot. Mostly because I know a brilliant photographer who does the most intimate boudoir shoots that have little to do with “being sexy” and everything to do with “capturing self-love and someone who is at home in their body”

That’s the best way to describe where I am at in life right now.

I am at home in my body.

And as I continue to exercise and strength-train and feed my body with nourishing food, I know that my body will continue to develop into the goals I have set for myself. So I could have easily said, “I’ll do that boudoir shoot ‘one day’ when I’ve lost a few more inches…”

But, more than anything, I want to capture this woman right now. Today. This woman that I have very recently fallen in love with.

So… tomorrow morning I head to Edmonton for a photo shoot that I’m over the moon excited about. A year ago I would have been nervous (a.k.a. “terrified”), sweaty (a.k.a. “dreaming up excuses to call it off”), and filling my mind, heart, and soul with self-doubt (a.k.a. “you’re not skinny enough, confident enough… enough… enough… enough”).

But I am enough. I am more than enough. I am in love with the woman that I am, and what more do I need? I cannot wait to share some of the images with you. It’s going to be a fabulous.

(* while we petition “Dictionary Companies” to change the definition of “self-love”, can we also get them to add “funner” to the dictionary? It would make my life a whole lot easier…)

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