Lisa Wingårdh worked in finance for years where she lived a lifestyle with a high income and where able to travel around the world. But she soon realized that she just felt more and more empty within and not truly fulfilled. That is when she quit her corporate job and booked a Yoga teacher training in India. Today Lisa lives in Stockholm and is the founder of Wingårdh Wellness where she helps people reconnect with their purpose and heal through teaching yoga, her social channels, and 1:1 coaching.
We had a magical conversation with Lisa about self-love and her journey to self-love with a background of eating disorders and with a mother who suffered from schizophrenia.
What is self-love for you?
Wow, that is such a big question. Self-love to me is a daily practice. You can wish that we were all born with a huge amount of self-love or that you can do a 10 days program for self-care and then you would love yourself but there is no quick fix. For me, it is something I need to practice daily and it is something I know can disappear in a second if I don't do my practice.
Lisa explains that she feels the most self-love when she says no to things or cancels plans that she did not feel like attending. To do what you want and put yourself and your needs first. The feeling when you do that is priceless.
How have your self-love journey looked like and what have been your main tools and practices?
I had eating disorders that I got at an age of 13 and I was sick till I was around 15. It took me five years to find a balance again, dealing with fallbacks. Having and dealing with an eating disorders, there is an enormous amount of self-hate, so it has taken me a huge amount of work with loving myself after that. I feel like I am in a very good place today where I feel like self-love is not about my body. It is of course important to love your body and take care of your body. But self-love is so much more about the inside, about the energy you have and what energy you give others and yourself. I always need to start with myself in order to give to others, while in the past I put myself last. For me, who have in the past been very focused on my looks it was so important to realize that I am so much more than my looks and that the way I look has nothing to do with who I am.
We often give people compliments on their looks as ”you look so good today” or ”what a nice dress you are wearing”. But I am practicing giving compliments to others that are not focused on someones look like ”wow, you are so strong”.
My tools for self-love, have first of all been yoga. When I started taking my first hot-yoga classes I always used to look myself in the mirror and fix myself and make sure I was representable and I still to this day remember how the teacher came to me and said ”Lisa you do not have to fix anything. Just be”. When she said that, it made me aware of how often I felt a need to fix the way I look while I practiced to resist it. In yoga was also the first time I got to hear that I do not have to perform. Today I practice yoga every day to reconnect with myself. Another important tool has been meditation. I practice meditation for 25 minutes every morning before I do anything else which is truly an act of self-love. I often hear people say ”I wished I meditated, but I do not have the time”. But no, that is not true, you do not give yourself the time. So really love yourself so much that you invest time and energy in things that make you feel good.
What are some of the signs that people are lacking self-love?
One of the biggest things is definitely not being able to say no. That is something that I have been struggling a lot with throughout the years. And when we dare to say no there is so much happening on so many different levels, you get such self-respect and self-confidence and it makes you feel so good. I am still working with being able to say no without given any specific reason. I have learned to say no, but I always have a need to explain myself and that is something I am still till this day working on.
Why do you think so many people are lacking self-love in today's society?
I am a volunteer at an eating disorder helpline and when I hear people, how they are talking about themselves it hits me that I used to feel that way. But I think it can have a lot to do with old experiences and traumas that you do not dare to let go of. Like in my case, many people used to comment that I was round and chubby and was being bugged in school because I was bigger than others. And it is so easy to start repeating it to yourself and like I used to do, actually believing these words I was told about myself. When you start telling yourself these things every day, it starts to become your identity and believing that is who you are. But also, all the comparison which there always has been. I know that it is easy to talk about social media now, but when I was young it was all the magazines where you used to compare yourself. What everyone seems to forget is that is not the reality, back then everything used to be photoshopped and now in social media, people just show the good sides of their life.
If you see any of your close ones dealing with self-hate and exhibiting destructive behavior, how can you as a close one help?
I often speak about therapy because I am so grateful for all the therapy I have gone through. I have been in therapy many times, both when I had an eating disorder and also for my mother's sickness as she got schizophrenia when I was just a kid. It is easy to talk about self-love and say that you should do yoga, and be kind to yourself. And as a close person try to help and be kind. But it is often experts that are needed to break patterns. So I definitely think that you should advise the person to take help. The first step does not have to be to start seeing a therapist or professional but taking small steps and start by chatting or call an eating disorder help center if someone is dealing with an eating disorder.
We believe that self-care is a lifelong journey and never ends, where we continue to grow every single day. Can you give us an example of what you are currently working with on your self-care journey and what obstacle you are currently struggling with?
That is so true and I never take self-care, self-love, or balance for granted because I know that it can disappear so fast if you stop boosting it from one minute to another. Even though I have worked with my personal growth for over 10 years now, I can feel like I have found a good place on many points like working with myself and my self-love and self-confidence. But something that I am currently working on is the relationship with others and romantic relationships. I have always been very scared of being left because my mom left me when I was a kid due to her sickness. I can see how this has affected me in my patterns, that I leave relationships before they can leave me. I see that it is my inner child that is scared of being left. But I am an adult now and I can take care of myself. So I am working on daring to stay in relationships and be able to open up in my relationships.