It all boils down to love

This will most likely be my last blog as, after 11 years, 225 blogs & a book I’m running out of words. And if I needed proof, I really couldn’t decide what to write.

Today (18th June 2024) is Finding Joy’s 6th birthday & in a quest for inspiration I read through my journal from the time she was published & these words really jumped out:

Maybe it was all about love,

Maybe I did love myself enough to do the work & ask questions,

Perhaps that was the case all along.’

To be honest reading them was quite emotional (especially as they’d slipped my mind) & I spent some time pondering everything I’ve done over the past few years.

The phrase, Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” (Søren Kierkegaard) popped into my mind & I realised the one thing; the big thing I’ve learned (am still learning) is the importance of self-love.

Everything I’ve done flowed from self-love

Looking back, I see that everything I did flowed from self-love. It propelled me to ask for help, to do the ‘work’ to process my childless grief & the loss of both parents, it encouraged me to explore & to follow my curiosity, and most importantly it enabled me to be confident about who I am, tell my story & find my joy.

This realisation was quite a shock as, although I touched on self-love in Finding Joy, it wasn’t something I’d consciously considered & I thought it was firmly on the ‘too tricky to think about’ pile. However, when I dig deep for the real reason behind everything I’ve done in the intervening 6 years it was always self-love.

And in case you’re asking, is self-love selfish?

Let’s start with Brené Brown (as all her work is based on research) who explains in Daring Greatly thatpracticing self-love means learning how to trust ourselves, to treat ourselves with respect, & to be kind & affectionate toward ourselves’. And: ‘In practicing self-love, I can say that it has immeasurably deepened my relationships with the people I love. It’s given me the courage to show up & be vulnerable in new ways.’

So no, self-love isn’t selfish, but a healthy practice which will enable you to better support those you love. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup’.

Here’s my recent experience when self-love took a back seat

The key word above is practicing & I’d like to share my recent example of when I wasn’t. For her final few months, caring for Roger’s mum became our primary focus & I neglected my habits & self-care. Unsurprisingly, after a while my cup was empty & I was unable to offer any more. I started seeing a lovely new acupuncturist who supported me in coming back into balance, I created time for myself each day, got back into meditation & qigong, effectively re-filling my cup so, in addition to feeling more like myself, I’m able to offer support.

At the time, I reacted instinctively, & it’s only now as I look back that I realise self-love & self-care took a back seat.

I get it, how do I practice self-love?

John Kirkwood in The Way of the 5 Seasons has some suggestions: Self-love ‘includes accepting, allowing, honouring & having compassion for all aspects of ourselves. It also includes taking care of ourselves as much as we take care of others, not neglecting our needs ……. If we love ourselves, we make healthy choices, we engage in activities that improve us psychologically & spiritually & that stretch us’ and ‘Knowing what we are thinking, feeling & needing in each moment. Being here, being present to ourselves, is the deepest form of self-love’.

So, acceptance, compassion, self-care, self-awareness, presence  & making healthy choices, which reads like a great self-love to do list. I’m still a work in progress & one of my biggest challenges is making healthy choices (the chocolate bar is soooo inviting, postponing my exercises until tomorrow seems like an easy option). So now, when I’m faced with a dilemma, I ask myself ‘if I cared for myself in the same way as someone I love, what would I do?’ or I remind myself that ‘my heart wants to be peaceful, calm & happy,’ both of which encourage me to make the caring, loving choice instead of the quick fix.

The difference focusing on self-love has made to me

As I explained, despite writing about the importance of self-love in Finding Joy, it hasn’t consciously been on my mind, but my recent experience has demonstrated how important maintaining my regular habits is to my well-being. And, as I explained I now understand that everything which made a difference had its roots in love.

I’m therefore determined to live my life forwards with a healthy dose of self-love.

My wish for you

I hope I’ve encouraged you to reflect on your life & consider whether it includes enough self-love & if not what you will do to change that.

If I have one wish for you, it is not to be like me & only realise the importance of self-love looking back, please love yourself enough to live your life forwards & let it support you in finding your joy.

Because this …


And finally…

I have many, many highlights from my time in the arena, publishing Finding Joy being the biggest. I’ve learned a lot from books, training, therapy, fellow travellers, many teachers & friends & I’m not the person I was when I published Finding Joy, let alone when I first put my thoughts out into the world.

This is my last blog partly because I’m running out of things to say & mostly because it’s time for me to move on with life. We are parentless & childless & ready to shape our lives in new ways.  We’re currently both healthy which will hopefully continue for many years, & we don’t know so we’re determined to live life to the full whilst we can.

I’m sure I’ll continue to write, but shorter posts on my  Facebook & Instagram pages. This website & all the resources will remain & Finding Joy is always available.

If this is the first blog you’ve read or the 225th, or somewhere in between, I cannot thank you enough for being part of my journey. We’ve travelled this road together & I wish you safe travels & wish for you, like me to find joy by following your curiosity.

Over to you

I’d love to know your thoughts below on self-love, whether, if you’ve looked back you can see that, like me it was at the root of your actions over the past few years? And if not, how can you (will you even) make it more of a focus. Thank you.

You can read book reviews and interviews I’ve done here.
And you can order your copy of Finding Joy Beyond Childlessness on Amazon UK and Amazon USA



6 thoughts on “It all boils down to love”

  1. We seem to be in sync this week with writing about self love. Well done on reaching the 225 milestone and for moving on from that. I’m so pleased to have witnessed your journey all these years. Lots of love x

    • I thought that when I read your blog yesterday Cali. Thanks so much for your comment & for your love & support alog the way.
      Liz Gilbert continues to be a huge inspiration for both of us & I thank you for encouraging me to attend her workshop & to do the exploration of Big Magic tother. Lots of love, Lesley xx

  2. Thank you, Lesley. I have followed your blogs since the publication of your book. Both have been wonderful companions through my journey childless and now caring for both elderly parents. You are a true inspiration, particularly in moving on and accepting what you have found is right for you. Best wishes for whatever the future brings. Xxx

  3. thank you for everything as a childless woman navigating social interactions is horrendous…even though as a competent professional no one would believe that…I am a good bluffer…I came across your work and it helped me move into being honest and real you gave me courage I am forever indebted to you much love…I know can hold my head high


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