Last year when I launched the Rock Your Curves Movement, I originally just wanted to create a bikini challenge with some accountability from other women to push myself to release the weight from my fourth and final baby (almost 11 months later and I’m still working on that goal). When I posted an invitation on Facebook for others to join me on this journey, I was shocked & saddened at the responses I received.

There were women from all walks of life, all different shapes, sizes, and colors who had never even owned a a bikini, let alone ever dreamed of allowing people to see them in a bathing suit. Some had never even worn shorts! Quite a few of them reached out privately to share heartbreaking stories of abuse that led to extreme fear around showing their bodies, even during intimacy.

It quickly dawned on me that although I had been on my spiritual journey for 8 years, I still had a lot of wounds that I was carrying around from my own stories of abuse – wounds from when I was abused by others, but more importantly wounds from when I had abused myself. I quickly realized these negative thoughts around my body were literally affecting every aspect of my life. It was this harsh realization combined with the bravery of the women sharing their personal experiences and insecurities that made me realize that what we all needed more than anything was a journey into self-love, self-acceptance, and self-forgiveness.

At this time, self-love was just starting to become a hot topic. However, it seems that more and more people are discovering that in order to experience true, long-lasting love with a partner; to achieve true health and wealth; or to truly be happy… we must love ourselves first. The clichés that we’ve all heard over and over are proving to be true: You cannot truly love another until you truly love yourself.

With body positivity movements popping up everywhere, we are part of an exciting time for women; we are being acknowledged for our diverse beauty during this historical time. While no one can argue the fact that this is amazing progress for women, truly loving yourself goes beyond the shape of your body.

If you have ever been in love before, than you likely know that falling in love with another person is exciting (as an ex-love-addict who dabbled in other forms of addiction, I can attest that there is no high quite like it). The butterflies in your stomach, the lust, the euphoria when you are first together. These are things that most of us dream about, and some of us search endlessly for. It is woven throughout the pages of our history and almost every book ever published. Movies are based on falling in love. We all want to feel it.

Falling in love with ourselves it is often the opposite experience. Some of us have traumatic experiences from our pasts that have left deep wounds, wounds that are still open, wounds that we continue to inadvertently throw salt in. To fall in love with yourself you must be willing to get naked – both literally and metaphorically – examining, identifying, and healing all the wounds you carry. It is not an easy process. In fact, it takes a very brave individual to take and stay committed to the relationship with themselves. But in truth, that is the most important relationship that you will ever be a part of.

In order to get to a place where you can start to truly love yourself, you must turn your open wounds into scars. Once a wound becomes a scar, the salt that you continually throw at it simply falls away. But as long as you keep your wounds open you are continually causing yourself pain over and over, preventing self-love or true love with another from happening. You see when it comes to hurting ourselves, we are the most vile repeat offenders. And often we are not even aware of how we self-sabotage.

As a woman who proudly bares many scars and even has a few wounds that are still healing, I can promise you that once you are able to commit to taking the journey (what is arguably one of the most difficult you will ever take) – once you make it through to the other side – the magic that unfolds in your life is unparalleled to anything you have ever experienced. But you must be open to the emotions, fight through the pain and keep going NO MATTER WHAT! Self-love takes consistent daily practice and just like any relationship or marriage it also takes constant care and nourishment.

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