If I had to ask you what are the 5 things you love about yourself? What would your response be?

Now if I asked you what you hate most about yourself, would it be easier to answer?

Not many can appreciate the good in their lives; it’s easier to recognise and remember the poor attributes about ourselves. Whether it’s that bad habit you’ve been trying to stop for the past year or the insecurities causing you to cave back into your shell when you can stand out from the crowd and be in the spotlight.

Those pictures we delete on our phones because they are not “social media worthy”. The endless filters we apply to appear more beautiful with a catchphrase “I woke up like this” or the scars and blemishes we hide on selfies.

Ever heard of the expression “true beauty lies on the inside”?

It’s easy to modify our appearance, but not so easy to change what goes on inside. Those hidden scars in our hearts from the hurt, shame and disappointment we’ve been through. You know that mean comment your colleague said in passing, the email of rejection you received starting with the words ‘we regret to inform you’. The criticism and mock you receive from not being fluent in your language or labelled according to your background, level of education or job title. The list is endless, and yet we have learned to put on our masks and get on with it.

We are so quick to recognise the value in others, but we struggle to find it within ourselves. What makes you think you are not worthy or don’t deserve the best? That you need to be perfect or righteous before living the life you’ve desired? Why does your value scare you so much?

Today, I want to remind you that you are precious cargo and no one else can take care of that valuable cargo other than you. You need to learn to love yourself before you can love others. Love is acceptance and a commitment to care. Accepting the good and the bad that you come with, the chapters of your book that you would prefer to not read aloud, the embarrassing moments that you would rather die with than share with your friends. These are our thorns and we all have them!

The thorns in our lives strengthen our character, but also protect us from ourselves. They protect us from becoming prideful and remind us that we are human. They encourage us to relate, sympathise and accept others as they are.

Our thorns are a reminder that we simply can’t do it alone, we were not meant to operate in isolation and two is always better than one. They inspire us to keep examining ourselves and strive not to become perfect, but continually improve and discover the untapped potential within ourselves.

Take some time to write words of affirmation to yourself. Write down what you love about yourself, what you are grateful for and what areas you need to work on to become the best version of yourself.

Accept the areas you can’t change and learn to embrace them, keeping in mind that roses would not be complete without their thorns. With that said though, a flower cannot grow amongst weeds. The weeds would be the old habits, ‘dead weight’, resentment, unforgiveness, jealousy or people that you need to let go of and cannot take with you into your new season.

Learn to move on with compassion and clear the path for the new. Keep checking the state and well-being of your garden so you can spot all the weeds that harm your flowers.

Remember, the grass is not greener on the other side, but it is where you water it.