Loving Yourself (Part Three)

Today, I want to talk to you about your environment, and its connection with loving yourself. We know that our surroundings impact on our moods – think about things like colour therapy, and aromatherapy, and mood lighting and so on. These things matter.

I’m talking to you today from my purpose built office. Now, I know how privileged I am to have a whole separate space all to myself – literally what Virginia Woolf referred to as ‘a room of one’s own’ – and I’m even more privileged by the fact that it was built just for me, so I got to decide on everything about it. Right from where, on the property, it was placed, to the colour and location of the electrical sockets and to all the different pieces of furniture and where they’re placed.

I love my office – not just because it’s really, truly, mine, but also because it’s filled with things that bring me joy that I’ve either bought for myself, or that have been given to me by people who truly value, cherish, and support me. Members of my fan club, if you will.

From where I’m sitting, I can look at the wall opposite, and see the beautiful wreath my eldest daughter bought me, knowing how much I love wreaths and knowing I’d particularly love the pretty one she chose for me. To my right, is a half wall of cork boards where I have pinned up the usual reminders and paperwork that I don’t want to lose, but also postcards and pictures sent to me by people I love for no reason than they were thinking of me.

On the table beside the chair in the reading nook, is a beautiful, handmade and painted ornament from a talented artist friend. Another artist friend painted and decorated an elephant for me – knowing they’re my favourite animal. That is hanging up over the chair in the reading nook.

Behind me, I have a bunch of flowers made from the pages of a copy of Ulysses that would otherwise have been pulped. They were sent to me by my friend Sarah when I was recovering from a near-fatal illness. I also have fresh flowers there – usually lilies because I love the scent of them, and also because cats are allergic to them, so we can’t have them in the house because I love my cats more than I love the flowers. Also behind me is a gorgeous piece of art that my younger daughter made – representing me as Medea because she said that she feels I love my children as fiercely as Medea loved hers.

Just in my peripheral vision here, to my left is a shot glass. It was appropriated from a club in Singapore when I was out with a good friend of mine who has since passed. This glass is from the last wild night we had out together before he died. When I catch sight of it, I smile – because, although Jaynt is no longer here, the sight of the glass reminds me of how much fun he was, and how kind and generous he was.

I also have things like pots of lip balm, and hand cream close by – to remind me to take care of my physical self while I’m working.

Then, of course, I’m surrounded by books – and books make me feel happy, and also very safe. I have plenty of candles because I love candle light, and I also have incense, because good smells are important to me.

But it’s not just here, in my office that I’m surrounded by things I love, from people I love.

Years ago, I went through my house and I removed everything in it – photographs, mementos, gifts, etc. – that were from people who do not support me; people who treat me badly, and people who do not, basically, love me. Some things were put straight into the bin, and others were donated to the local charity shops.

Then, I chose to only put on display photographs and other reminders of people who do love, support, value, and cherish me.

It really works, because everywhere I look in my home, and in my office, are reminders of people genuinely have my best interests at heart – people who believe in me, and people who delight in my successes. This means that my good days are better, and my bad days aren’t made worse by having sight of things that remind me of people who hurt me.

So, your mission today, should you choose to accept it, is to go through your home, and any other spaces where you spend a lot of your time and get rid of anything that does not remind you of your worth, of your value, and of people who love and support you. Give it a week and see if your sense of yourself has improved. If you are feeling more love for yourself than before.

If you’d like more tips on how to love yourself, I have a video that’s brimming with practical exercises. If you’d like the link to it, please feel free to email to me – hazel@traumarecovery.ie – or click here.

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