There’s a beautiful quote by Khalil Gibran that says, “Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the wind longs to play with your hair.” In this episode I’m sharing what it means to delight yourself and why you should make this a number-one priority. Let’s dive in.
Welcome to the School of Self-Image, where personal development meets style. Here’s your hostess, master life coach Tonya Leigh.
Hello, friends. What’s happening? So happy you’re here. Sometimes, I wish we could just all get together and have an extraordinary weekend. Maybe I can make that happen. Why not?
So, I want to talk today about delighting in yourself. The other day, I was sitting in my house and my daughter was here, my guy was here, his daughter was here. And I don’t know what was happening within me, but I was in the kitchen and I just said something out loud and just started laughing.
And I said to everyone in the room, I’m like, “I’m just delighting in myself right now.” Because they were all looking at me like I was strange. But I truly feel like I delight in myself often, which is crazy for me to say because there was a time where I wanted to be away from myself. And so, I would try to escape myself through working and eating and going out and being around other people that would distract me from my own self.
But what would it be like for you to delight in yourself? Really think about that. What does it mean to delight?
Well, the definition is to please greatly or to be amused by, to take great pleasure in. Do you take great pleasure in being you? Do you enjoy your own company? Do you please yourself? If not, that is your work, my friends.
Because I want you to think about your future self. I talk about future self a lot within the School of Self-Image. I talk about the women we want to see ourselves as. And never in the history of me asking that question has someone said, “I want to be a woman who doesn’t want to be with myself.”
Deep down, we all want to be with ourselves because we know we can’t escape ourselves. We’re with ourselves 24/7 for the rest of our lives. So, what would it be like for you to learn to delight in yourself instead of hating on yourself, beating up on yourself, escaping yourself?
Sure, you can try to do all of those things, but it’s not going to work. It’s not going to lead you to where you want to go. You have to be willing to be with yourself in order to get to the place where you delight in yourself.
I was coaching a client recently and she was expressing that she has a problem with drinking, she finds herself, at night, drinking too much. And she tried to paint this really beautiful picture. She’s like, “It’s fun. I like the feeling. It’s pleasurable.”
But I asked her to try and experiment. I said, “Let’s just try going one evening without a drink and see what’s there, what’s underneath?” And so, she did. And she reported back to me that she was not happy with what she found out. She didn’t like her own company. The drinking was a way for her to escape getting to really know herself.
And that’s the hard part. You don’t go from hating yourself to delighting yourself overnight. You have to go through this period of being with yourself and understanding yourself. And sometimes, we don’t like what we see. We don’t like the thoughts in our brain. But as long as you keep choosing other things that distract you from your brain, you’re never going to get to the other side where the delight resides.
So, how do we begin to delight in ourselves? Well, step one, you have to get to know yourself. And again, you may not like some of the things that you get to know. Burt whatever it is that you discover, what I can tell you is that you can change it. But you first have to know what it is.
Spending time with yourself is a beautiful opportunity to get to know yourself. A lot of my work is helping women meet themselves, sometimes for the first time in decades. They’ve been so busy taking care of everyone else, avoiding their emotional life, avoiding themselves, that they’ve forgotten who they really are underneath all of the shoulds, underneath the limiting beliefs, underneath the doubt, underneath the pessimism.
And I love giving women the opportunity to meet that version of themselves. But on the way there, they have to go through some muddy, swampy waters. They have to wade through all the stuff that they’ve taken on as their own that was never meant for them. The beliefs of, “I’m not good enough. I’m too old. This will never happen. I don’t have what it takes.”
I want you tall to realize, those are just thoughts. They’re not true. They’re not who you are. But when you’ve thought it for so long, you believe that that is you. You’ve taken that on as your self-image that limits you so much, and there’s no delight in that. When you’ve placed limitations on yourself and what’s possible for you, it’s really hard to delight in your own company.
Think about someone you delight being around. You can’t wait to see this person. You love hanging out with them. Why is that? I bet they don’t place limitations on you. I bet they don’t tell you you’re not good enough. I bet they don’t make you feel bad about yourself. Which is why you want to be around them. You like the way you feel when you’re around them because of the thoughts that you think when you’re around them.
Someone told me recently that they love being around me, and then they went to tell me why. They said, “When I’m around you, I feel like anything is possible. I feel beautiful when I’m around you. I feel seen and appreciated and understood when I’m around you.”
And I told them, I said, “Do you know you can feel that when I’m not around? That is a choice.” And I believe for me, that’s why I delight in myself now more than ever. Because I know what it’s like to be in the company of bad energy. Why? Because I was in that company for many years. And the company was myself.
But when I started to do this work and I started to really stop with all of the limitations and the beatings and the emotional abuse that I was placing on myself and I started to believe in myself, I started to love myself, I started to appreciate myself and understand myself and treat myself with so much love and grace, that’s when I was able to delight in my own company.
I didn’t need other people to create that feeling for myself. It’s something that I know is now available to me at any moment, at any time. And I so desperately want that for every single one of you that’s listening to this episode. It is so fun to delight in yourself.
The other part of delighting in yourself, for me, is getting to know what you love and making that a part of your everyday life. I love beautiful music. I’ve been sharing with the members is the School of Self-Image some of my favorite stations that I play nonstop. And I put that music on and it’s such a match for my soul and I just delight in the music and I delight in myself enjoying the music.
I also delight in dressing up. Not for other people, because many days, no one else sees me but me. I work from home. But I love knowing that I love and respect myself enough to put on something beautiful, so when I walk by the mirror, I’m like, “Hey, beautiful. What’s happening? Look at you looking all cute.” I want that for you.
The other piece of delighting yourself is fun. If you think about people that you enjoy being around, you probably have fun around them. Are you having fun with yourself? Do you even know what that looks like? Wouldn’t you love to find out? Wouldn’t you love to have fun with yourself?
Some women will tell me that they have a lot of discomfort with going out by themselves. They’re not dating anyone. They don’t have a lot of friends. And so, they want to go out and be in the world. But the thought of being alone, let’s say for example at a restaurant, is horrifying to them.
And I ask them why, and they’re like, “Well, I just don’t know what to do with myself.” But if you were a woman that knew how to delight in herself, you would love those moments.
Many times, I’ve gone to restaurants by myself and had the best time. I love people-watching. I love making up stories in my head about the couples that I see at the table beside me. Has anyone else done that? I know you have. It’s so fun.
I love sitting there and dreaming and thinking about my future. That’s the other thing. It’s hard to delight in yourself when you’re beating yourself up over the past; that past that’s done. It’s now just a story in your head. But you keep reliving it over and over and thinking, “If only. If I could just go back. If I could do things differently.”
All of that happened the way it was supposed to. Now what? I think that’s one of the reasons too that I delight in myself is I’m always thinking about my future. And because I don’t place the limitations on myself that I used to. It’s fun to think about the future and to dream and to think about the possibility of those things happening knowing that even if they don’t happen, I’m still me and I’m still going to love life.
That’s the other thing. When you think that over there is better than here, you’re going to make here miserable. You’re not going to delight in yourself and this present moment because you’re going to be in such a rush to get over there. and I tell my members this all the time. I’m like, “Listen…” we talk about future self a lot and I love having her as a guide.
But it’s all about practicing being her now. And she’s not in a hurry. She’s where she wants to go, or she’s where she wants to be. She’s reached the mountaintop. She doesn’t think over there is better than here, so you have to be that version of you now.
But those years where I thought, “When I lose weight, when I have more money, when I have more clients, when my business is doing better, when this, when that, then I can be happy, then I can delight in myself.” That’s when I held myself prisoner to the present moment. But when I started to really practice this, everything began to change.
So, it’s fun to dream. It’s fun to know that whatever it is that you want, you can dream it, you can take action towards it. You can become the woman who’s already created it emotionally, mentally. And chances are, if you do all of that, you’re going to attract that to you. You’re going to create it. And even if you don’t, all is well in the world because you know that you get to create how you feel. You know that over there is no better than here so you do everything in your power to make here as beautiful as possible. And that is such a way to delight in yourself.
The other way to delight in yourself is to have hobbies, things that you enjoy doing. Do you know what you enjoy doing? Wouldn’t you love to find out? Recently, I’ve discovered that I love card games. I have not played cards in years. I’m a big game person. I love Taboo. I love playing all kinds of games. We often do game nights. And now, I’ve discovered playing cards.
It delights me. I love who I am when I’m playing cards because I’m super competitive. I will get loud if I think someone’s cheating. I can get all up in their face. I love my competitiveness. And of course, it’s all in good fun. But I love that about me. And so, playing cards allows me to delight in who I am, which is very competitive. I love to win and I love playing. It’s so much fun. So, placing myself in those things that I enjoy allows me to delight in myself.
Another way that I delight in myself is to surround myself with others who also delight in themselves. It’s one of the reasons why I love being around my daughter. She loves being who she is. And she tells us often. She’s like, “I love me.” And by her loving her, it makes me want to love me even more. It’s like she has this beautiful way of being that gives everyone around her permission to just love themselves.
My dear friend Brooke will send me pictures, selfies of her in the mirror. And she’ll usually have some fun caption like, “God I look good.” And I’m like, “Yeah you do. You look amazing.” And by her delighting in her, I get to delight in her, which makes me delight in myself. Being around delightful people makes it so much easier to delight in yourself.
And then finally, what I’ve noticed when it comes to being delighted by myself is self-care. Remember, to delight means to please. And it’s very pleasing to me to know that I’m taking exquisite care of myself.
It was very hard to delight in myself when I was not taking care of myself. I was constantly feeling disappointed. That inner voice that always said, “You can do better. What are you doing? Why are you choosing to eat that?” or, “Why are you overeating?” or, “Why are you not going out for some exercise?”
I was in such a toxic cycle of disappointing myself day after day, to delight in myself was impossible. So, self-care, taking care of myself has been very pleasing to me and has paved the way for me to delight in my own company.
And again, I can’t say this enough. It’s something that I want for all of you because when you’re in that state of delighting in yourself, truly, anything becomes possible because you’re vibrating at a different level. Your energy is different. What you’re projecting into the world is different. And all of that stuff is attracting your life to you.
So, do the work to learn how to delight in yourself, it is worth crossing those swampy, muddy waters to get to the other side. Have a beautiful and delightful day, my friends. Cheers.
Hey, have you grabbed your free copy of the School of Self-Image Manifesto? If not, what in the world? Head over to schoolofselfimage.com/manifesto and get a copy that teaches you how to think and show up in the areas of mindset, style, and surroundings so that you can transform your self-image.