What does self love mean to me?

What is self love? I could sit here and list off all the things that I feel self love embodies, but for so many the struggle is not so much self-love, but where it actually begins – self care. Someone once said to me “You cannot truly love yourself until you can care for yourself”. I never quite understood the meaning of this until recently.

For me, 2016 was the year that almost broke me. It tore my life apart in ways I never imagined possible leaving me to reassemble the unfamiliar pieces of who I was. I was exhausted, burnout physically and emotionally and knew something needed to change. I am re-learning self love, beginning with self care. While I’m still early on in my journey, I want to share with you what I’ve learned so far;

  • Listen to your inner voice. You already know it’s right.

It sounds SO cliche! But think about how many times you ignore that voice that is screaming at you from inside. Often, we let our titles as women, wives, business owners, care takers, moms, define who we think we need to be. And why do these titles come with so much pressure from ourselves? We already know we can’t do it all but we try anyways. Listen to that inner voice that is screaming for one more hour of sleep and one less activity to take on. Don’t worry, the world won’t stop and no one will die. It might feel like it at the time but I promise you, taking back that power feels amazing!

  • Your energy is the most precious commodity you have. Protect if fiercely and spend it wisely.

Think of money. You only have so much in your bank account to spend, when it’s gone you either earn more, or go into debt. You spend money on the basic foundations of life (food, shelter), on things and experiences that make you happy and get you ahead in life. It’s awful when you must spend money unexpectedly on things you don’t really want to spend money on such as house or car repairs. The same rings true for your energy.  Be aware of your energy levels during and after certain activities and after being around certain people. Do you feel drained, or enriched? Focus on those experiences and people who enrich you and make your energy sing! If you go into “energy debt” make sure you do things for yourself to recharge so you’re not constantly feeling depleted. You’re the only person who can do this, and trust me Sister, no one else is gonna do it for you so be fearless and aware with you energy expenditures.

  • Never feel that you need to have an excuse for anything you decide to do on your journey to self love.

If you feel like you need to make excuses as to why you are taking care of yourself, it’s probably because it’s new and you feel guilty because you feel you “should” be doing something else. We all know the self-induced guilt trip too well. Just stop it! Easier said then done, right? One of the best ways I’ve found to overcome is this to be honest and upfront with your friends and family (your support system) about your journey into self care and self love. Tell them the reasons why and suddenly taking time for yourself, doing things that enrich you and make you feel whole, don’t seem like such a big deal. It becomes natural and your support system will even.. support you in it! Imagine that! If you still find yourself making excuses for not taking care of yourself, explore that deeper. List all the reasons why you feel you need to make excuses and address them each individually. I found that my list was long and I needed help to overcome some of the challenges, so I saw a counselor for some extra support. Best money I’ve ever spent and I got so much more out of it then I thought I would.

While self love is SO important, I truly believe that you cannot love yourself until you learn to take care of yourself. Self love is natural and follows when we allow ourselves the opportunity to be stable and solid with who we are. If you take the time to care for yourself and listen to your inner voice, that foundation sets you up for the most stable and pure understanding of who you are without doubt. With this, self love always follows

Best wishes in your own personal journey!

– Caylen Wallace, Canvas Candle Company

Makeup by Shayla Rose from Rose Quartz Makeup Services

Photography by Sabrina from Sequel Photography

Earrings by Glass & Brass Vintage

& Tanned and Beautiful

Nursing Bracelet from Dear Loves Company

How thick is my skin?

Kaylene is a student here in the Fraser Valley and grew up in a small town that is about 2 hours outside of Edmonton Alberta. She is like a little sister to me and I am very proud to watch her grow into a mature and humble woman. I have watched her willing to make hard decisions to better herself and not take the easy road. I know God has great things in store for her life, thank you for sharing your heart little sis.

Self-love has been something I have struggled with majority of life. That is one thing I wish they taught you in school, other than algebra and history books. I pondered on this topic for weeks and I honestly have never had such a difficult time to write my thoughts as I have on this subject. I have not mastered self-love, so I do admit I am in a process of understanding what this word means to me, along with the necessary actions I need to make to fulfill the word “self-love.”

This last year has been a very difficult year for me, due to the loss of six loved ones. I lost myself in my grief, and in depression. I did not take the necessary actions to take care of myself. I struggled with anxiety attacks, insomnia, loss of appetite, isolating myself, and even found myself buying a pack of cigarettes here and there. Staying busy at University and work helped me to suppress my emotions for it was the only way I knew how to cope.

Due to that difficult year, I am left thinking of how I can change my actions to take care of Kaylene for the year of 2017. I am hit hard in the chest with this silence of what to say about self-love; I honestly feel I do not love myself in a healthy way right now. That is just my reality. I am sad by it, yet, this has brought attention to what I need to address.

The last few months, I have really struggled with completely and authentically loving myself. I have deprived myself of love. I have been wrestling with memories and hurts from my past, and it’s left me feeling ashamed, and unworthy. I have a history of trauma, addiction, self-harm, and being in abusive relationships, yet, I try every day to leave those days behind and to continue moving forward. To practice forgiveness so I may have peace, and attain deeper healing. Not by just forgiving others, but also by forgiving myself too. Somedays are easier than others though, as deeper roots of hurt from these experiences arise from time to time.

Now, how do I go about applying self-love? By putting on some make-up and standing in front of a camera? No. By going to the only solution that can teach me the first fundamental teachings about love-by going to Jesus Christ. By taking time out of my day to spend time with Him. To find my identity in God, rather than of the world. The world we live in is flawed, as are we humans, but thanks to God, I can have peace knowing I am enough for Him. I just have to spend time with Him and be reminded of some things that I have become blinded to. Such as knowing I am enough; that I am loved. Knowing I am worthy. That I must come first sometimes too.

I am learning to love every attribute about Kaylene, from my imperfections, my flaws, my successes, my weaknesses, my strengths, my nationality, my past, and my present. I am learning how to love my physical self, my mind, my experiences, my heart, my spirit, and the ones around me that helped shape me into who I am today. To love my ancestors that came before me. To love the God of the universe who formed me, perfectly in my mother’s womb. To one day know, deep down in my heart without a doubt, that I am worthy of love and greatness.

Ways in which I see self-love is by buying myself flowers because they are captivating like I. It looks like taking a day off and getting lost in the outdoors. To keep away from things that are poisonous to my well-being, which is why I decided two years ago, to never put drugs or alcohol into my body ever again. It looks like being gentle and gracious with myself when I make mistakes. It looks like discovering who I am as a First Nations Cree woman. It looks like reclaiming my cultural practices, my voice, my potential, and my purpose. It looks like redefining my identity as a Godly woman. It looks like staring in front of the mirror, smiling at my reflection after I remove all my make-up before bed, for this is when I feel most beautiful.

Self-love looks like loving the woman I used to be, the woman I am now, and the woman I aspire to be; I am not where I want to be, but I am far from where I used to be, and that is okay because I am a working piece of art that God will never give up on.

– Kaylene Gambler

Makeup by Shayla Rose from Rose Quartz Makeup Services

Photography by Sabrina from Sequel Photography