When I was in high school being told that you ‘love yourself’ was far from a compliment. There was this perception that ‘loving oneself’ involved an immense amount of gloating, including but not limited to your own achievements and social standing. This wasn’t a good look.
Seven years have passed since I said goodbye to secondary college and I can definitely say the world has most certainly evolved since then, as well as our perceptions about life… Or maybe it’s just me getting old? Hehe.
This time last week I attended an incredible conference held in picturesque Sydney. In fact, the building where the event took place was also beautifully breathtaking – The Glebe Town Hall (I suggest you Google it). Fashioned by Project Strong Woman (PSW), the one-day conference set out to inspire, empower and celebrate women, and boy it did just that!
The event was coined the ‘Love Yourself Conference’ thanks to its AMAZING Founder, Shauna Ryan. There were a number of local and international speakers throughout the day – Yvonne Hypolite, Leigh Van Der Horst, Emily Rex, Azure Antoinette, as well as a Q.A. session lead by Shauna featuring Ruth Lewis-Jones.
So who are these six incredible women?
Shauna Ryan: Millennial visionary, emotional thought leader and Founder of international blog, Project Strong Woman (PSW). Shauna is going to conquer the world one day with all the #positivevibes she spreads around everywhere she goes. Just you wait.
Yvonne Hypolite: British born Motivational Speaker, Youth Worker, Trained Counsellor with 30 years-experience in the health-care sector.
Emily Rex: Australian born vocalist and singer specialising in soul and R&B. She is one half of performance duo, Spare Pages.
Azure Antoinette: American poet, CEO of multi-brand start-up, brand humanist and creative strategist. The “Maya Angelou of the Millennial generation”.  She is one half of performance duo, Spare Pages.
Leigh Van Der Horst: Author of best-selling book, ‘Without My Mum’, Founder of Her Sisterhood blog and Melbourne-based nurse.
Ruth Lewis-Jones: Inspirational speaker and Founder of Choose Real Campaign and Esteem Designz, which exists to engage, equip and empower young girls.
Now back to the story.
Shauna asked if I could help facilitate the conference, and of course I said ‘Yes!’. This meant I had the privilege of sitting at one of the event’s round tables packed with attendees, so to offer guidance and perspective as we discussed the key learnings from each session.
Naturally the question, ‘Do you love yourself?’ came up in conversation – after all, it is the name of the conference. In the beginning no-one wanted to answer the question for at face value, ‘love yourself’ sounded too egocentric. However, once we peeled away all its engrained perceptions, it in fact has an incredibly altruistic meaning.
Here’s why.
Loving oneself couldn’t be any further from arrogance. When you genuinely love yourself, you recognise that you’re a worthy human being and an invaluable contributor to society. You have self-respect, you embrace a positive self-image, and you embody unconditional self-acceptance. Now that’s something to be proud of.
There were many note-worthy take-away points from the conference. So today I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite learnings that most resonated with me. No doubt they’ll do the same for you.
Don’t let people defy your worth.
Your life can be very full however without fulfilment. How can you fill it?
We judge ourselves by the influence of others. Who makes up your tribe?
Forget what hurt you but never forget what it taught you.
Our values are what makes us unique.
Don’t focus on how stressed you are, rather how blessed you are.
When you have gratitude, you open yourself up to self-love.
Our mind is a powerful tool. Stop and flip your attitude. What’s the one thing you’re going to do to flip your life?
How to embrace self-love:

  1. Schedule and plan time-out.
  2. Create a vision journal and refer to it.
  3. Exercise, even if it’s just a light stroll.
  4. Read. Try new things. Keep your options open. Stretch your mind.
  5. Honour yourself. Be proud of who you are.

To ‘decide’ means to slay every other thought. It’s your choice – your decision to choose to love yourself.
Be open to making mistakes. Take it as growth.
See beauty in humanity.
Be kind to the dreams that lie in your body.


Emily Rex and Azure Antoinette from Spare Pages.

“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance”Oscar Wilde
Embrace all that makes you YOU.
Keep smiling,
Gianna Xx

Founder of PSW, Shauna Ryan & I

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