A year ago I quit my job. It was a perfectly fine job as a legal secretary in an office, but it was making me miserable and sick.

It was affecting my health, my mood, my relationship, my eating habits, my finances and my sex drive. My self-esteem had packed up and moved on, and I felt trapped, bored, frustrated and unimportant.

I Quit

My decision to quit wasn’t overly sensible or planned. One of the head honchos was having a bad day and took it out on me. 

After I got furious, complained to anyone who’d listen and had the conversation in my head another 100 times (each time winning the argument with smarter and wittier comebacks) I felt fed up. It was the kind of fed up people often find is the catalyst for their weight loss, marathon running or decision to shave their head, quit society and become a monk (yep, I thought about doing that too!).

I gave my notice, packed up my pot plant and went home early, via a mid-afternoon yoga class.

I walked out the door and (mostly) didn’t look back. 

I had doubts, of course I did. I worried what people would say and that I’d struggle to get another job. But I couldn’t stay stuck there anymore.

Go With Your Gut

After a few days percolating on things I made the decision to take 3 months off to recover. It wasn’t something we could really afford financially, but I knew in my gut it was the right decision.

I’d spent so long pushing myself, punishing myself and doing everything for everyone else. I realised what I needed most was to spend some time reconnecting with myself, or maybe just connecting with myself for the first time ever.

I needed to be kind to myself, to rest and to disconnect from all of the daily drama and obligations.

Step One

The first thing I did was nothing.

For a couple of weeks I slipped into sloth mode. I slept til noon, I stayed up til 2am and I watched hours and hours of all my favourite TV shows. I went out for chocolate milkshakes in the middle of the day and I went to a day spa for some pampering.

It’s incredible what some sleep can do for your perspective on life!

Step Two

The second thing I did was book a two week holiday to Bali for my partner, Brendan and I. 

We’d both been working too hard and were under loads of pressure. We were frustrated with other things but were taking it out on each other, and we desperately needed some quality time together.

We stayed in the Bali mountains, away from tourists, computers and demands on our time and energy. It was wonderful. We read books. We talked to each other. We stared at trees. We relaxed and reconnected.

Step Three

The third thing I did was go on a Vipassana meditation retreat. It was 10 days in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, no talking, no eye contact, no alcohol and no chocolate.

It’s something I’d wanted to do for about 10 years but had always found reasons excuses not to.

Reasons like:

  • I’m not ready.
  • I don’t have time.
  • I’m afraid of what might come up.
  • I don’t know how to meditate.
  • My legs will go to sleep.
  • I can’t go until my mind shuts up!

But I went. And I did it.

I wanted to run screaming pretty much constantly for the first few days. Then I really started to enjoy the silence. Some meditations were great. Some were crazy frustrating. In others, I was so over it I started playing random alphabet games in my head to kill time.

Vipassana meditation was emotionally challenging for me at the time, but it was also incredibly rewarding.

Waging War In Your Mind

I managed to sit with myself for hours a day. I realised I’d been the leader of the most bad ass army of thoughts, and the target was me. I noticed that I was really, really mean to myself.

In meditation, the idea is to observe your thoughts, not to buy into them. And on the few occasions I was able to do this I realised that I basically just threw dirt at myself. All. Day. Long.

The soundtrack on repeat in my head went a little something like this:

  • You’re lazy.
  • You’re fat.
  • You’re not smart enough.
  • You’re not pretty enough.
  • You’re not lovable.
  • You’re worthless.

On and on it went. And it all added up to one thing. YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

How’s anyone meant to be happy and enjoy life when all they hear is that junk all day long?

And how do you walk away from the source of cruelty when that source is you?

Not So Much A Cure As A Change Of Mindset

I didn’t come back from Vipassana ‘cured’. What it clarified for me was that I needed to start being kind to myself. And that’s the journey I’ve been on ever since.

I’m starting to realise what a waste of time being mean to really yourself is. Because let’s face it, life is hard enough without fighting yourself 24/7.

I’ve also realised that there are so many other people out there who feel, or have felt, the same way as me. And to those people I say:

  • You are worthy
  • You are deserving.
  • You are lovable.
  • You are enough.

I’ve started this website to share a message of self-love and self-acceptance.

I want to shout from the rooftops that It’s OK to love yourself and that you can absolutely learn how to love and accept yourself.

I read a quote recently (attributed to Rob Bell) and it goes like this:

Some of the most comforting words in the universe are ‘me too’.

Rob Bell

I believe that to be true and I just want to tell you, I’m here, I care and you are not alone.

Sarah x

P.S. If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy this post where I share 10 things you might not know about me.

Image credit: Instagram – Caroline Spencer {from her @ladylikelace account}