While I have put out the word each day that I am taking submissions for the Guest Blogger Month on the theme of LOVE, I wasn’t sure who would step forward and participate. But I am delighted to see all the amazing folks sharing their love stories on Yankee Doodle Paddy. And one person in particular I was hoping would contribuite is today’s author. Jennifer Byrne from Ireland has an amazing story. It isn’t just an inspiration for women, moms, and over 40’s but it is a story for ANYONE who has felt repression of any kind.
My Love Story
Falling in love with me…
When you fall in love with yourself you gain a deep appreciation of your own self-worth and capabilities. It may have taken me 40 odd years but now I can say that yes, I LOVE ME.
“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” – Oscar Wilde
A lot of people think that finding that someone special will somehow make them “whole”, fill an inner void, and solve all their problems. Hands up I was once one of those people. But what life has taught me is that no one else can make you feel complete, you and you alone need to fall in love with yourself first.
The hardest thing to do is learning to love you. Love yourself for the person you are, looking at that reflection in the mirror and rather than seeing that someone who disgusts you, you see an amazing, beautiful person that you truly are. For me, not loving me, has led me into situations in life where my spirit has been battered, broken and feelings of fear, isolation and not knowing where my life was going.
When I look back at my journey through life, I can see now that I was confused as to what love was. Always chasing the dream, the happy ever after but allowing myself to be broken down in the process. I started to question myself and blaming myself for the bad things that happened. Thinking I deserved it, I was a stupid, worthless person. I began to believe all the nasty things that were thrown at me by the person who ‘loved’ me, sure they were doing it for my own good. One minute they are telling you they love you, things are going well but that all comes crashing down, ranting and raving pure venom been spat at you, sometimes the mental torture was worse that I just wished he hit me, at least it would be over and done with. Feelings of shame, trying to cover up a bruise on your face or going about your daily routines in pain, both physical and mental pain, pretending everything was fine for the sake of my children. Anger took over, angry with myself, angry with the world, angry with life. But no matter what I was put through he could never break me completely. It took me 10 years but I was finally free. Free to be me again, free to be Jennifer.
My journey to love me had begun. I began each day with a positive thought, I learned to love the skin I am in, I surrounded myself with people who loved and encouraged me, I became my own cheerleader. I concentrated on me and my sons. Slowly but surely, I built myself backup, until one day I looked in the mirror and smiling back at me was a beautiful soul. A kind, caring person who had been knocked down so many times but showed true strength by constantly getting back up again. A person that was grateful each day for the peaceful life she now had.
I now have self-respect, a positive self-image and unconditional self-acceptance. I have nurtured my self-love. It does not mean I’m arrogant, conceited or think that I am better than anyone else. It means having a healthy regard for myself knowing that I am a worthy human being. I finally found the true meaning of love, love from within.
Wow thank you so much Jennifer for baring your soul to share that powerful LOVE story. You are used to baring your physique for body building fitness competitions but this kind of openness is a totally different level. While you’re a role model for health and well being, you are also a pillar of strength and fortitude in your own life which permeates those around you. And you’re an inspiration for how to find the ability to reinvent yourself, as you have done for yourself and to benefit your two sons as well.
For anyone who thinks it isn’t possible to dig deep and get through tough situations, Jennifer is someone who could mentor you! A kinder soul you would not meet in this world. I am blessed to call her a friend. She really is a trust worthy human being trying to leave a positive stamp on this world. And I for one will be rooting all the way to the finish line for her and all of you endeavoring to do the same in life. Check out Jennifer’s social media channels if you need a boost in your day, or even something as simple as the weather report. Cuz she’s always outside, getting active and getting fit!
There is still time to share your LOVE story before February ends! Just leave a comment below or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
LOVE from within,