Growing up as a very shy child, I held back from a lot of things in life.
I grew up thinking that there was something wrong with me, because I wasn’t as outgoing or as confident as the other kids. This voice in my head has followed me only until a few months ago. I finally accepted the deep parts of me I hid away for so long.
I’ve always had a very quirky and different personality, that makes me unique, which the people close to me have learned to love.
I guess I never learned to love it myself.
In today’s age, we are constantly bombarded with messages from the media, newspapers, and television that we should look a certain way, as well as act a certain way. What we don’t realize is that these messages constantly come from ourselves as well.
Our mind plays tricks on us, and make us think we are not good enough. The negative feelings we may have about ourselves can over shine the most beautiful parts of ourselves.
Today, I am very delighted to share with you some loving vibes, from a very special woman, Shani, who is an author and self love advocate. The world needs more inspiring women like herself, to teach vulnerable women, particularly teenage girls, to chose to take the road of self love. I’m sharing some girl talk that me and Shani had, to inspire all of the beautiful women out there, including myself; that struggle with self love daily.
What is your story? How did your journey to self-love begin?
Self-love has always been something I struggled with since I was a teen. It wasn’t so much my weight that was an issue, but I definitely struggled with my appearance and fitting in at school, which hugely impacted my self-confidence.
By the time I was in my early twenties, I made the commitment to myself to change how I felt on the inside. I didn’t want to be the girl who was afraid of voicing her opinion. I didn’t want to be the girl who couldn’t believe that any guy could possibly be interested in her. I wanted to be confident and to love the girl I was born as, and since then I’ve made it my mission to help other girls and women to do the same through The Glow Getter Tribe, and the books I’ve written.
What are the main reasons why you think girls struggle with their confidence and self-love?
I think that 90% of the blame lies with the media. Women are constantly praised and rewarded for their looks, and their bodies are often exploited and sexualised. The fashion industry shows us nothing but tall, slender, predominantly white women. And people like Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner have become the type of role models that girls now look up to and aspire to be.
We spend half of our time scrolling through social media on our phones. We’re presented with streams of ‘perfect’ bodies, flawless layers of makeup and totally fake ‘I woke up like this’ images. It’s incredibly hard to look at those images on a daily basis and not be harmed by them in some way. Of course, young and impressionable girls (and even grown women) are going to look at these images and unknowingly start comparing themselves, and thinking that they don’t measure up.
The world we live in today isn’t doing much to help women feel good about themselves, or learn to focus on more than their physical appearance.
What was your biggest struggle whilst learning to love your inner and outer self?
Allowing the voices of others to get in my head and convince me I wasn’t good enough.
When I was a teenager I got bullied at school, and that really knocked any confidence I had right out of me. And when so many people are calling you names or going out of their way to make your life hell, you start to wonder, ‘maybe there is something wrong with me?’
Of course there isn’t, but it becomes incredibly hard to brush things off, keep picking yourself back up every time, and to find the strength to carry on.
I began hating the way I looked and wishing I could switch lives with somebody else – anybody else. And it took years of slowly building my self-esteem and confidence back up again, day by day, to heal those inflicted wounds.
What are the things that helped you with your self-esteem?
I found that surrounding myself with positive, inspiring people who are happy and confident in themselves really helped me to feel better within myself.
If you spend time with people who do nothing but bitch and moan and criticize themselves and others, that negative energy is going to filter into you – whether you want it to or not.
So I reassessed the company I was keeping, and I began diving into self-help and inspirational books by people like Elizabeth Gilbert, Cara Alwill Leyba, Rebecca Campbell and Gala Darling. I joined online networking groups filled with like-minded women who were all searching for ways and tools to lift themselves up.
I also made a point to quit saying negative things to myself. To stop thinking about what I’m lacking, and instead think about everything that is great in my life. And to look in the mirror every day and find at least one thing I like.
Like I said, this wasn’t an overnight fix – and learning to love yourself never will be. It takes a long time, and it builds up gradually day by day, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself when it comes to self-love. In time, with regular and committed practice, it will come.
What are your favorite things to do in the morning to set the day right?
I try to go for a swim first thing in the morning at least three times a week – it’s my favorite type of exercise because I find it so relaxing and calming for my soul.
I always do ten minutes of meditation to clear my head and focus my thoughts. Followed by a cup of lemon green tea which makes me feel refreshed and energized to face the day.
I’ll then open my Happiness Planner (it’s the best day planner I’ve ever owned!) and write down what my main focus is for the day, and what I’m most excited about. My to-do list is already written as I try to do this each night before I go to bed for the following day.
And then I get stuck in to my day!
When did you first learn to love writing?
I’ve always loved reading since I can remember. Books were my escape. I could forget my own worries and troubles as soon as I opened the pages and wandered into someone else’s world for a couple of hours.
My love for writing came much later. It wasn’t until I was aged 21 at university and writing my dissertation that I realized how much it lit me up within. But I decided to mostly ignore those feelings, and carry on with my chosen career at the time, which was fashion design.
Four years later, I stopped sitting around reading other people’s writing in books and online and found the courage to submit my own writing to one of my favorite sites at the time – Thought Catalog. And everything spiraled from that point on. I realized I could actually write and I was pretty good at it but better still, it felt truly fulfilling in a way that nothing else ever had. Many of my articles did really well on the site, and I ended up publishing my first book, Bloom, with Thought Catalog, which was a total dream come true!
What I love most about writing is how it really helps me to get my feelings out and clear my head, and convey a mood or a feeling to others and connect with strangers through my words.
Tell us a bit about your current book ‘The Babe Bible’?
The Babe Bible was written for any woman who has ever dreamed of having a BFF by her side, to comfort and reassure her during all her times of need, in life and love.
The book is written as a beautiful collection of ‘Open When…’ letters to the reader, conveniently arranged into seven sections: Body, Spirit, Confidence, Vulnerability, Love, Hope, and Inspiration. This is the book you’ll want to reach for whenever you find yourself in need of some gentle guidance, words of wisdom, or a sprinkle of inspiration.
Today, so many women believe they are not good enough or don’t measure up in multiple areas of their lives—at school, in relationships, in their physical appearance, at home, and in their career. And often, they don’t believe they have anyone to turn to who will truly understand how they’re feeling.
The Babe Bible will guide you through some of life’s toughest lessons, help you discover answers to your many questions, and be the light in the darkness when you need it most.
What is your favorite quote?
‘No mud, no lotus’
It’s a wonderful reminder that without our bad days, our struggles and our suffering, we can’t experience all of the beauty and good that awaits us.
No matter what you’re going through today, just keep going – it’s only a matter of time before you see the lotus.
What is one piece of advice for a girl struggling to love her inner and outer self?
I would say that sometimes the parts of you that you find the most difficult to love, are often the parts that others will find the most beauty in. Perhaps not right now, but in time to come.
And try your best not to fill your mind and thoughts with the messages in magazines or the pictures on social media. It’s mostly just a bunch of people trying to make money by convincing you that you’re not enough as you are right now, but trust me when I tell you that you most definitely are.
Shani is a writer, best-selling author and self-love advocate. She runs her own content creation business, based in the UK.
She is the author of Bloom: A Gift For The Girl Learning To Love Her Beautiful Soul and The Babe Bible; and her writing has been featured on many internationally recognized platforms including The Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, and Teen Vogue.
In 2016 Shani founded The Glow Getter Tribe – a self-love & kindness movement which helps young girls & women worldwide feel happy, confident and beautiful starting from the inside, out.
“You are so enough girl”- Peta Ramia
Today, I hope you take a leap and start caring and looking after yourself, and most importantly, the relationship you have with yourself.
Love and light sisters ♥