These early morning parties, called Morning Glory, happen about once a month in cities around the world.
It’s all very hippy and happy.
They serve £3.50 cappuccinos rather than beers, and raw cacao shots instead of drugs.
I danced non stop from 7.30 – 10.15 am. Seriously, non-stop. I bounced, I whooped, I flung my hands up in the air…I sweated like a glorious partying pig.
I then went for breakfast with my friend, came home and fell fast asleep for an hour. It was bliss. I was – and am – very happy.
Maybe I didn’t need self-help, I just needed to dance more. And smile more. And sweat more.
Maybe, maybe, maybe…
Which brings me to this.
Right now I am scheduled to be writing about my my final book: YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE by Louise Hay. It’s a self-help classic, published in the 1980s and has sold 35 million copies since. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s all about loving yourself.
Louise Hay says instead of beating ourselves up we must look in the mirror every day and say ‘I LOVE AND APPROVE OF MYSELF.’
She says we must fill our heads with positive thoughts rather than negative thoughts – in the form of affirmations, which we repeat hundreds of times a day (‘Money comes to me easily and effortlessly’, ‘I am beautiful inside and out’ etc etc)
It’s all very woo-woo – the kind of stuff that would have sent me running a mile a year and a bit ago – but now I can see there is something in it and I have been doing the mirror work and affirmations every day.
There’s only one problem – I just can’t bring myself to write about it. Really and truly I can’t.
I cannot bring myself to write one more word about myself. It now feels obscene. Enough already.
I AM DONE.
All I want to do now is dance and shop and see my friends and be semi-normal for a while. I want to have normal conversations about normal things. I don’t want to dissect my flaws, my finances, my fears… I want to get out there and live my life instead of endlessly analysing it.
I told Rebecca, the friend I live with, that I was going to call time and she said: “Thank God’. The poor woman has had to undergo therapy by proxy for the last year. We haven’t been able to have so much as cup of tea without me over-analysing my feelings for it in some way – and then expecting her to join in.
Another friend says that it’s like I’ve been in training for some kind of really extreme marathon. It’s true – I’ve been a woman obsessed. I’ve lived and breathed this blog for the last eighteen months. When I look back I’ve seen that I’ve been quite crazy in parts. Really, quite nuts.
Now I’m at the finish line, I’m sorry that Lovely Louise, the great aunt of self-help, has not got the proper write up she deserves. But I think she would approve. My lack of desire to write is a sign that, in many ways, I have healed my life.
Hay describes how many of her clients refuse to say ‘I love and approve of myself’ in front of the mirror, some won’t even look at themselves, some start crying. They say they can’t love themselves because they are fat, ugly, broke, single, etc etc.
I can relate. I once wrote an article about what I saw in the mirror and it wasn’t good. Wonky teeth, fat thighs etc etc. I used the mirror as an excuse to beat myself up every day, proof of all the reasons why I would never be loved, never be good enough.
That has changed. When I look in the mirror now I still see chunky thighs and wonky teeth – but I also see a lot of other things. I see a woman who has done crazy, brilliant things this year. Someone is kind and strong and brave and powerful. Someone who is alive and vibrant. Someone who, in good lights and on good hair days, can look quite beautiful. Someone whose smile is kind and genuine and open.
Actually, these days I see a force of nature.
And although I am not so changed that I don’t feel like a total idiot talking out loud to this person in the mirror, I realise that I do believe what I am saying: I DO LOVE AND APPROVE OF MYSELF, no matter what my hair is doing. In fact, right now, I think I’m bloody brilliant. I am so proud of all that I’ve done. Really, so so proud.
For years I was always trying to get other people to like me, to approve of me, to love me. But even when they did it was never enough. I didn’t believe it because you can’t believe something you don’t feel yourself. Now I feel it. In fact, I LOVE MYSELF WITH ALL MY HEART AND SOUL.
Not bad for an Irish girl with Catholic guilt and a near pathological need to put herself down.
If that’s not a sign that this self-help lark has helped, I don’t know what is.
As for the other changes that all this craziness has led to, well, I don’t know. I need time to assimilate.
Next Wednesday I’m off to the 10 day silent meditation – which is freaking me out a bit. It seems to involve up to 12 hours a day sitting cross legged on the floor, starting at 4.30 am. The first two days are spent thinking about nothing else except your nostrils. Dear God.
If I can stick it I will be delighted but if I don’t, I’m not going to beat myself up. I’m done testing myself and pushing myself.
To quote my mother: ‘Are you not improved enough by now, Marianne?’
The thing is, I really think I am.
Sign up for sporadic updates from self-help land and life in general, including details on upcoming talks and events. Promise not to bombard you.