I have just come out of some intense few days recovering from covid. It took over my whole body, the aches and pains and intense feelings I had were overwhelming and all consuming.

What happened during this time shouldn’t have been unexpected, but it was. A beautiful feeling came over me. And that beautiful feeling was love.

Last year when I was going through breast cancer for the second time, I felt the same thing. This beautiful contrast of light and dark and this overwhelming feeling of love and light came over me.

But this feeling hasn’t always felt familiar.

Last year was a great awakening, a shift into higher consciousness and an opportunity to uncover more of the real me. To tap into what I truly desire and feeling called to step into the role I was meant to play in this lifetime.

There are always blessings in every challenge. An opportunity to face your fears and grow from them.

My cancer diagnosis was a great catalyst for change within me. It was an opportunity to overcome deep feelings of guilt and shame after becoming a mother and an opportunity to find deep love for myself.

The last few months have been a beautiful rediscovery of myself. Remembering the true essence of who I am. To be authentic and not care about what people think and to make choices that are in alignment with my highest values.

I think that is the work we are all here to do, spending our life working out who we are.

One of the questions I’ve been pondering since my breast cancer diagnosis last year is why is it so hard to love ourselves? Why did it take getting cancer, to wake me up to loving myself? Love is one of the greatest feelings the universe has bestowed on us, so why do we find it so difficult to love the most important person in the world…ourselves?

For me, loving myself came with facing what I hated most about myself, and that isn’t always an easy thing to do. I spent most of my life trying to fit in and looking for acceptance and validation outside of myself. I held onto my perceived shortcomings, failures, and poor decisions which lead to developing a set of beliefs that were negative and limiting, and I minimised or dismissed many of the good things about myself. When I became a mother, those feelings multiplied, and I avoided spending any time on myself because it was actually too painful.

Plato said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” How true are those words if we applied them to ourselves? When we’re facing challenges, that is when we need to love ourselves so much more, but it seems that is when we are the harshest on ourselves.

Self-love is more than just being good to ourselves and practicing self-care, such as soaking in a bubble bath, or getting a massage. Although these things might help, self-love is an inside job. It has to do with how we hold ourselves and relate to our feelings. Self-love means accepting ourselves as we are. It means finding the strength and resilience to acknowledge all of our emotions. It means finding inner peace so that we can gently embrace our feelings rather than meet them with aversion or judgments. It means being comfortable in stillness, alone with our thoughts and being willing to sit with the pain, hold it and feel it without trying to fix or change anything.

Loving ourselves also benefits others. By being gentle with ourselves, allows us to more easily extend compassion toward others. 

It’s so easy to tell someone “love yourself” and much more difficult to describe how to do it.

So what does the path to self-love look like?

I think it looks different for everyone; we all have a unique way of loving ourselves. My path to self-love took a lot of twists and turns and now it looks something like this:

My morning self-love ritual involves massaging my body. In particular, the scars on my breasts, I rub them with oil each morning and I tell myself how beautiful my scars are. I picture a beautiful golden light shining out of my scars and wrapping me up in this healing golden light. Never in a million years would I ever have rubbed oil on myself. Now I find this ritual so beautiful and healing.

Self-love is being present in my mind and body by meditating each day. To sit with my thoughts, to bring awareness to them and acknowledge them and lovingly let them go. Meditation is not about clearing your mind of thoughts rather than sitting being detached from them.

Self-love is knowing that my body is my temple. Treating my body like a temple means I have respect for it and I’m intentional about what I put into my body, not because I want to look good but because I want to feel good, and I want to have good energy.

Self-love is speaking kindly to myself every day. When I turned my attention to how I was speaking to myself, I was horrified. Self-love is making a commitment to train my brain to always speak lovingly to myself and to have the awareness to catch myself when I don’t.

Self-love is loving myself unconditionally. When I make a mistake or take a wrong turn, rather than criticise myself, I will treat myself like I would a small child. Encouraging myself and practicing self-compassion and kindness.

Self-love is connecting to my spirituality. Faith has been the core foundation for self-love. I’m not talking about religion or having religious beliefs; I’m talking about believing in something greater than yourself. Believing in something greater opens up your soul to the beauty of belief and trust that the universe always has your back. It has helped build my intuition and helps me make decisions based on that intuition. It has taken me on a journey to learn things about myself, and from that has come new thoughts, feelings, passions, and raw emotions which has made me appreciate myself so much more and allowed me to be more authentically me.

Self-love is learning to let go of the past and the things I can’t control. When we hold on to things in our past, it can weigh heavy on our souls. The more we let go and surrender, the more we can really live big with self-love.

Loving myself deeply has improved everything in my life— my relationships, the way I show up for myself, the decisions I make, my health and well-being and my ability to manifest my dreams and being able to feel intense gratitude for my life. Self-love is the key to creating a passionate, fulfilled, and joyful life.


If you’re interested in exploring your own journey of self-love, check out our upcoming retreat experiences. A retreat is a deeply healing and transformative experience and gives you the space and time to allow you to explore the deeper parts of yourself so you can reconnect to the authentic you. For more information go to www.hartretreats.com/retreats