Women Who Inspire Self Love (And Why It's Vital For Creating)
Creating, in my eyes, comes from a very spiritual place. A place where the artist is revealing parts of his or her self that is normally not visible to others, demonstrating an un-nerving sense of vulnerability. Sometimes it almost feels unnatural to create and put it all out there so willingly. But with that, I also believe creating also comes from a place of great love. So much of who we are as artists is driven by our inner NEED to create, our own 'why'. Without this unending passion, I'm not sure the process would be complete. In order for me to reach a true place of challenge, growth and authenticity in my work, it's taken a great deal of personal effort. I had to step back and begin re-learning something I had never focused on in my 26 years of life; 'who am I, actually?" How to explore who I am. To accept all that I have and all that I do not.
We tirelessly give and give and give to everyone around us--how can we place some of that energy into openly giving love back to ourselves?
Are you rolling your eyes yet? Many of us are raised our entire lives to believe that both self love and selfish are dirty words. They make us feel icky. You're taught to feel a great sense of shame or guilt in terms of self expression or self love. But this ideology has the power to change everything. The way we interact with others, form relationships. The way we process any decision, take new risks and honor our true self. So much of this stems from the growth of self respect. Over the past year, most of my time has been dedicated to countless self help books, motivational speakers, music, mediation, journaling, therapy, and genuine real-life interactions that have changed the way I honor myself. And with this, comes honoring my work. Without this, there is no way that any of the work I produce could be authentic, honest or true.
The world around us has groomed us to only talk about the love for another. It validates the love in relationships with family, with friends, and significant others. This form of love is often celebrated. But the concept of self-validation, love and respect are nowhere to be found on Hallmark Holidays. We celebrate days like today, and too often, are judged by the amount or lack of significant love partners in our lives. What no one teaches you when you're growing up, (sitting at the table, making 25 valentines for your classmates)....is that without the basic underlay of self preservation, love and respect, so much of your future life will lack true authenticity. Loving your truest self is the biggest commitment one can ever act upon, simple because no one is doing it for you. You have to want to reach a new level of understanding, for only you. Without outside validation. And it's something that will take an immense amount of work, day in and day out.
Self love is definitely associated with body positivity. But its also much more than just appreciating your physical attributes. It's about learning yourself from the inside out; even the darkest, most terrifying parts; and healing them. Forgiving yourself and others for the hurt, the shortcomings, the "lack of." It means being mindful of what your body and mind need, taking time to slow down, or at times, challenging yourself harder than ever before. It's accepting your emotions, all of them, no matter how raw or how ugly, and learning how to handle each in various situations. It's about being curious and honoring yourself enough to explore something exhilarating, and also exploring why you needed it. It takes every bit of focus to do all of these things. It's something that will always need to be worked on.
I've asked the following women to be a part of this conversation for many reasons. They have all been a part of my journey in one way or another; whether complete strangers or close friends. They have been unending influences of inspiration and positivity, for many. Not just me. They are from all over, with different back stories; different talents; different dreams, different lifestyles. But they all have one thing in common: their ability to use self love as a driving force. Whether it is to further their own business, lift up others, serve within the community, create an honest and vulnerable art form....these women have the strength coupled by self respect to know its importance. That without it, life offers less. I hope you'll read their thoughts and feel lifted today xx
[owner + creator of JoJo Rings]
"When thinking about self-love one of my favorite affirmations comes to mind– 'know your worth'. To me, this phrase has many meanings, but the most important is a reminder that I AM important and what I'm doing HAS value. A lot of times we get caught up and compare ourselves to others– thinking that we aren't where we are supposed to be or aren't worthy of success. I often notice people undercharging for their services thinking that will bring them closer to their business goals. Remind yourself that the work your creating has worth and giving it away doesn't equate to success. Recognize the differences you make, be confident in your abilities, and believe that what you're doing has value for yourself as well as others.
The only way you will grow is by pushing yourself and seeing what you can (or can’t) handle! But also know that your process and journey in finding your worth takes time and failure.
When you love yourself, everything else will fall into place."
"Self love is being your own best friend. It’s being kind to yourself and learning to enjoy your own company. I think self love is most commonly associated with bubble baths and saying no to people so you can take time for yourself. While I think that is incredibly important I have recently learned that self love is also about knowing when to push yourself. Sometimes I think self love is getting up an hour earlier to accomplish something you know will make you proud of yourself. It’s all about balancing resting and pushing and always honoring what you need most."
[artist + owner of Brush Meets Canvas Art]
As someone who's chosen to start living her life at 30 years old, I've learned it takes self-love to believe in myself. Before thirty, I loved me (or I thought I did) but I didn't believe it enough to stand up for myself and make the changes I needed to grow personally and for my art career. My past consisted of one long-term relationship after another, and at the time I didn’t realize they were stifling my self-growth. Everything before thirty has molded me into who I am today and now I’m learning to love that person I’ve grown into, as well as breaking some old habits.
Two years ago, I had a fiancé, a dog, and a house in Florida. We were settled and this was the life and environment I was choosing to live for the rest of my life. But, the environment wasn’t conducive for self-growth, rather it made for an unhealthy dependency on another human, a human who didn’t understand my wants and needs as an introverted/creative/empathetic businesswoman. Not only could they not give ME the space and understanding I needed, I realized, I couldn’t give THEM what they needed. Over time I felt myself growing away from my situation and after numerous conversations about our futures (and not backing down from our needs), we decided we weren’t the right fit—and that’s okay. I moved in with my parents to regroup and now, a year later, I’m in California pursuing my art career—not alone, but with myself (and I’m good company).
"It's vital to respect that aspect of me in order to create and to be able to function in/with society. "
We grow up with all sorts of expectations to fulfill and we lose sight of what makes us happy. I used to be embarrassed about being an introvert because it seemed everyone I knew was an extrovert. But after reading books on it and understanding that my quirks make me, me, I accepted that part of me. It's vital to respect that aspect of me in order to create and to be able to function in/with society. I enjoy the company of others but I often get mentally, and physically drained being in the company of others for too long. My senses become over-stimulated in large crowds and after a stimulating social event I often feel exhausted and need time to myself to recharge my batteries. I’m ok with telling people that I don’t need social interaction often. I now listen to my body more and embrace and nurture those things about me.
It’s so important to respect your body because it's the vessel that holds the most valuable thing—YOUR mind. We couldn’t choose the body that we were given, but we can love it and take care of it, for your body is the instrument needed to create your thoughts and it needs energy to make them tangible. I'm working on being more mindful of what I put in my body and what is essential to fuel it. And sleep! Get a proper amount of sleep! Listen to your body when it tells you it needs rest or food or laughter or sunlight or company. And always love and treat others the way you wish to be treated (I don't know why this turned into a list of advice but it did). I think being open to new experiences allows self-growth to catalyze which opens us up to learning how to react to new/future experiences.
So now I’m enjoying being single and experiencing “first times” with myself. I’m following my curiosities and delving into my art. I’m creating the world I always wanted to live in and I hope to share it with the masses one day. As for future romance, I’m enjoying the idea of the perfect scenario; where both partners water each other’s gardens, but I’m not hung up on finding them. I’m appreciating moments and I’m nurturing the relationships in my life that are symbiotic. I enjoy having people in my life who are passionate whether it's painting, music, writing, performing, knitting, or hiking—as long as we all understand and respect the give and take of having a passion, we can allow each other to have freedom that is necessary for self-growth. The world won't initially (or ever) accept the way you do things but as long as you accept you—if you can accept that worse case scenario, you'll be alright, because then you won't be wasting your time waiting, you’ll already be, doing.
[artist + owner of Sarah Caudle Art]
"Walking to my studio, I stumbled on a crumbled can and glance up to see a pile of trash bags and broken furniture hidden in the corner, but something caught my eye. I did a double-take and realized that glisten of color I saw was my artwork.
In a fit of rage the week before, I took out my anger on one of my paintings. It wasn't good enough. I wasn't good enough. With black paint I scribbled across the front and tossed it into the dumpster. A feeling of relief came over me as tears streamed down my face.
I looked back at the pile of trash on the street and saw a deeper message. Someone had seen the beauty in my painting and pulled it out of the dumpster. Why could I not see it's beauty? My art is a reflection of myself. Why did I so badly need approval from others? Why am I so hard on myself? I needed to learn to love myself and let that love translate through my art.
I entered my studio with a new outlook and began to understand myself through my art. In a meditative state, I mixed colors, poured paint, let the resin flow, and painted the details. Rather than focusing on how it should look, I admired the imperfections and worked with those to create a beautiful finished painting.
I learned to take those same aspects in how I look at myself. The imperfections aren't what make me ugly, they are what make me unique. I learned not to fight my personality or hide certain characteristics, but rather work with them and grow. I learned to let go of my worries and not let them hold me back. Most importantly I learned self love.
When I began to love myself, I began to love what I created and I am now able to share that love with the world through my paintings in a much more powerful way.
Live, love, aloha."