This month's Kick-Ass Woman Interview is with Michelle Marie McGrath. Michelle is the creator of Sacred Self’s self-love range of Alchemical oils and self-love cards. She’s the co-author of “Love and Oneness” in the bestselling Adventures In Manifesting series, featuring contributing thought-leaders such as Marianne Williamson, Danielle Laporte and Lisa McCourt. She is the creator of “100% self-love” and “33 Days of Self-love” ecourses and author of “7 ways to love yourself” ebook.
Michelle is passionate about falling in love with all parts of herself, and reminding others to do the same. Originally from the UK, Michelle now lives in Sydney, where she explores her favorite self-love tips: relaxing and meditating in a candlelit bath; buying herself flowers; daydreaming; travelling to sacred sites; massage; chai tea and eating organic raw chocolate with raspberries. Her idea of bliss is a day full of these activities!
Give us a little background as to what made you so passionate about self-love?
There is no short answer to this question. In fact I wrote a whole chapter about it for the “Love and Oneness” book in the best-selling Adventures in Manifesting series, published by Älska Publishing, that was launched earlier this month.
My biggest challenge was actually my biggest gift! Looking back now, it seems obvious that I would be focusing my life on self-love. In my late 20’s I became really aware of this empty feeling that filled me. I moved to Australia when I was 25 from the UK to get married, lived in a beautiful place and worked in an amazing location at a high profile arts organisation. From the outside, I knew my life must look pretty damn good with ‘nothing to complain about’. Yet I had this increasing anxiety that I really off track, but I didn’t know what to do because I couldn’t articulate what was even wrong. Confusing!
One night in 2003 I was very upset and meditating. I asked myself “what do I most need?” The answer I received was “self-love”. I was like “What does that even mean?”. I then saw a whole heap of ingredients flying into a bottle that had the word ‘self-love’ on it, creating a Self-love oil. I was puzzled as it seemed a funny combination of ingredients, but because it was so vivid I created it. I meditated with it each night for months. Then started the crazy dreams and big realisations about my low self-esteem issues. I realised I had some very dysfunctional perceptions and behavioural patterns that had been created, due to beliefs formed in childhood.
I started to ask myself some really big questions:
“What would 100% self-love look like? What would I be doing differently if I was embracing 100% self-love? How would I feel about myself ? Would I even need to be in a relationship? What would my day look like?” It was hard for me to imagine what that could be like, but I then sent out a heartfelt declaration to the universe saying “I want to let go of everything that is preventing me from embracing 100% self-love”. This was closely followed by “I want everything that is not in alignment with my highest truth to be dissolved”. Careful what you wish for….
Within 3 months I had become pregnant, had a miscarriage (that was related to a pregnancy-related cancer so was having regular appointments at the cancer clinic), my marriage ended abruptly (after 11 years together) and I lost my driving licence. My neighbours started knocking walls down underneath me doing renovations, which made my home based work impossible. My husband moved interstate and so I had nowhere to live and was earning no money. I dropped two clothes sizes in a month as I was too anxious to barely eat, suffered from insomnia and panic attacks. It was like a house of cards just collapsed. I felt as though I was going crazy and then became very depressed for a few years…..
Throughout all of this, there was a persistent tiny voice inside of me saying “this is what you asked for”. Then my journey into self-love REALLY began and began to listen to that tiny voice that I had been ignoring for far too long. I continued to restate my commitment to 100% self-love and became intimately aware of everything in my life that was so out of alignment with that intention. Not pretty. I think the key though, is to stop and be prepared to listen to your heart, regardless of what you may learn. It can take a lot of courage to be really honest with yourself.
What do you think are the foundational steps to take, or practical tools a woman must take or have in order to begin their journey of self-love?
One of the most important things is to be a compassionate observer in your own life. During the past 12 years or so that I’ve been immersed in my journey of self-love, reclaiming all of the parts that have been ignored, denied, repressed, rejected and abandoned, I have discovered the following 7 main areas:
If you are just starting out on your journey into self-love, even if you just start with addressing issues in one of these areas I guarantee, it will start to have a flow-on effect into the others. Nothing exists in isolation and you will find that other aspects of yourself will start to come into your awareness if you ask the right questions.
Here are some general ones to get you started:
Ask yourself (whilst being open to whatever the answers may be):
- What do I most need?
- What would self-love look like for me?
- What would that feel like for me?
- How would my life be different?
If you are ready to go a bit deeper, ask yourself a couple of questions from each of the 7 areas:
- What are my most repetitive thoughts about myself?
- Are my beliefs about myself empowering or
- Do I think that life happens ‘to’ me or through me?
- How do I feel about myself?
- Do I give myself permission to FEEL all of my feelings or do I push them away when I judge them as ‘negative’?
- Do I react or respond?
- Do I have an emotionally-related relationship with food and am I making the most healthy choices for me? If not, why not?
- What is the trigger that has me reaching for specific foods (if I do)?
- Could I envision a time when my only perception of food is that it can a beautiful way to nourish my body with healthy food?
- Do I treat my body like my best friend?
- How do I feel about the various parts when I look in the mirror?
- Where does my body most need my love and acceptance right now?
- How do I invest in myself?
- What emotions do I project onto money (which is just a neutral form of energy)?
- Is there a feeling that triggers a certain type of spending?
- How do I fulfil my own needs and desires? Or do I just project these onto another person?
- Do I know myself intimately and am I comfortable in my own company?
- Do I judge my worth based on whether others are attracted to me?
- How do I nourish my spirit?
- Where do I feel the greatest sense of ‘connection’ and on the other hand, when and where do I feel ‘disconnected’?
- Do I feel connected to something greater than myself?
How does a woman's life change once she establishes her own self-love?
One line I’ve had as my tagline for many years is:
Self-love – would that change anything? Or everything. And that is the answer.
It DOES change everything, because once you take full responsibility for yourself and everything that is happening in your life, there can only be expansion. You are creating more space for increasing possibilities. Once you fill yourself with the love that you desire, or more accurately open yourself up to the love that already exists within you, you are able to share it freely without expectation or need. The irony is that once you are able to do this, you naturally attract more love than you could have imagined from others, because you are no longer projecting neediness or an agenda. Who knows what the universe may have in store for you once you make a commitment to yourself? It can be very liberating and exciting.