Mary’s Journey of Self-Love, Self-Prioritisation, and How You Can Do The Same
Author: Mary Doube
Warning: Tearful intro ahead. Get your tissues, you’ve been warned!
Sistas, I’d like to start the year with a STRONG mantra. Say it with me: #2023StartsWithMe!
I’m going to be honest. This piece was a difficult one for me – I literally cried the whole time I was writing this. I’m going back to my past to remember when I really struggled with my mental health, suffering with severe anxiety. I had reached 120kg (265lbs) and my world was so dark. My body was weak and broken, while my mental health was severely deteriorating. I remember watching my three daughters play (they were younger then), and I’m telling you now – if it wasn’t for them, I would not be here telling my story today.
I was desperate.
I was desperate to understand how to save myself. This was literally a life or death situation. What would be the trigger? How could I help myself?
Well, here goes.
I had a powerful visualisation. I saw ME. A laughing & happy ME in a strong, agile body. I could smell that new ME in my perfume. I could see my shoes, I could hear the laughter of a new, strong, gravelly voice. So, I decided I wanted to be HER. On the 16th of December 2015, I looked in the mirror and decided I was GOING TO BE HER. And so the journey began. One FULL year of reading, learning, experimenting and documenting. A crusade that led to the creation of the 5 x 6 Formula.
The journey to wellness was a mix of an incredible GP, an experienced counselor, amazing friends & family, strength training and most importantly, nutrition. One other important thing came to light. I realised that the secret to my journey to wellness was fundamentally:
My commitment to honouring and prioritising my wellness, over everything and everyone else.
The successful outcome was underpinned by self-love and prioritisation. The concept was both revolutionary and a total no-brainer at the same time!
So, why am I telling you all this? Because I want to share my 11 go-to’s for making yourself a priority going forward this New Year – here’s to loving and investing in yo’self just as I did. And I NEVER LOOKED BACK.
- Put yourself first
Don’t feel bad about doing this. Women, especially, can grow accustomed to putting others first. Although there’s a time and a place for this, it shouldn't be a habit that costs you your mental or emotional well-being. It's NEVER too late to start making you “NUMERO UNO!”
- Get Healthy
Do it. Don’t procrastinate. Seek a healthy body - get active and eat like your life depends on it, because it really does! (Also read: 2 Food-Focused Steps to Alleviate Menopausal Weight Gain)
- Others’ opinions don’t matter
Don’t worry about what society thinks or expects of you. You can’t make everyone happy, so this is a waste of time and will only slow you down on your journey to being the best you.
- Become super fierce
Jump on opportunities and create your own destiny. The timing is never going to be perfect for that next big step in your life. Look at me! My husband was sent to me by the gods so early after my breakup – but I took the risk! I seized the moment. Thankfully I am now the happiest woman on the planet. Not to mention the creation of Strong Formula - what a blessing!
- Make those damn mistakes – it's OK!
How often have we heard “nobody’s perfect, everyone makes mistakes.” But the older you get, the more pressure you feel never to fail. Cut yourself some slack! Make mistakes so you can learn and grow from them. Embrace your past. You’re constantly changing and growing from who you once were into who you are today and who you will be one day.The lessons you’ll gain are priceless.
- Don’t be afraid to let go of toxic people
A big one for me. Protect your energy. It’s not rude or wrong to remove yourself from situations or the company of people who are draining you.
- Learn to process your fears
Feeling afraid is natural and human. Don’t fear your fears — understand them. This healthy exercise can really help with your mental health. Challenging and evaluating your fears helps you to gain clarity and reveal issues in your life that cause you anxiety. That, in turn, can help alleviate some — if not all — of your anxiety. (Also read: Menopause Fatigue is Real. Here’s How You Can Counter It)
- Make good decisions for yourself and trust yourself to do so.
We so often doubt ourselves and our ability to do what’s right, when most of the time we do know in our hearts what’s best. Remember that your feelings are valid. You’re not losing touch with reality. You know yourself better than anyone else, so be your best advocate.
- Feel the feels
One of the most important lessons for me was understanding that “I am not my feelings”. Allow yourself to feel things fully. Lean into pain, thrive in your joy, and don’t put limitations on your feelings. Like fear, pain and joy are emotions that will help you understand yourself.
- See beauty in the simple things
Try to notice at least one beautiful, small thing around you every single day. Today I noticed my 11 year old’s small sweet hands. OMG I nearly cried from cuteness overload! Make note of it, and be grateful for it. Gratitude not only gives you perspective, it’s essential to help you find joy.
- Be kind to yourself
Isn't there enough negativity in this world? You don’t need to add yours to the mix! Speak kindly to yourself. Celebrate yourself (and not only on your birthday!). You’ve come so far and grown so much.
Be patient with yourself. Self-love may not happen overnight. But with time, it will settle itself into your heart. Yes, you may struggle at first, but like me – I look back on these moments and see how they were stepping stones on my journey to becoming the best version of me!