Self-love and self-care are straightforward concepts. At least that’s what we tell ourselves. But retraining both mind and soul to put us first is easier said than done. Julia Cameron De Villiers, love hack specialist and TEDx life-coach, talks to Ivory about her journey and how we can manifest true and lasting love.
“I used to wish my life away. Things got so bad I didn’t even want to wake up anymore,” says De Villiers of her formative years. Triggered by a period of bullying at school that left her emotionally damaged, she felt compelled to seek social validation from others in her adult life.
These feelings led to a period during her early twenties that was clouded by a lack of direction and the absence of positive role models. “The fix of significance I was looking for often came in the form of a party or a pill. And that made things spiral out of control pretty quickly.”
Wellness influencers have been shining a light on Love Addiction this year. With so many of us continuing to fight it, Julia shows us how to build ourselves up from the void we find ourselves in when we leave them. “It all starts with self-love and self-like, and that doesn’t just mean a bath with some candles. It’s about taking a long hard look at yourself,” she says.
“Self-love has become a clichéd term in the wellness industry. But you must understand what it really means to harness the power behind it. For years I paid lip service without understanding what it meant. It took a personal breakdown, or what I like to call, a breakthrough, in the form of a hazy morning in Ibiza, for me to realise that the absence of self-love in my life was the reason behind my emotional problems.
“To change this, you have to set powerful conscious intentions to the universe and put yourself first; it is the very art of self-mastery. If your former Love Addiction was about lack of self-control, moving forward is about self-control and self-consciousness.
“What I did essentially was to become love of my own life first by doing the things that brought me personal joy. When I started doing that the other pieces of my life fell into place”. This process of realignment is what she believes led her to meet her future husband and fellow life-coach, Jean-Pierre De Villiers.
“The first thing you learn in psycho-spiritual coaching is that everything is energy. And to attract the love of your life you need to match the frequency of that. Leading a balanced life whilst allowing myself to pursue things that gave me inner happiness meant I was operating at a high vibration. This high vibe performance led me to find that final piece I was missing, another high vibe person and a loving relationship.”
But looking deeper, can we self-analyse in order to prevent another negative experience in the future? “Bloggers and life-coaches will tell you how to spot Love Addiction but they don’t often tell you how to prevent it in the future. And without strategies in place, the negative cycle may continue.
First you have to look at the patterns. What are you attracting? Our relationships become a mirror, showing us clearly where we need to work on ourselves. Negative relationships with others indicate the quality of your relationship with ‘the self’. My own toxic relationships were born out of low self esteem and accepting low standards. By playing by other people’s rules instead of my own, which is a common issue for many women.”
She goes on to explain that preventing toxic relationships requires a revision of bad physical as well as mental habits, “you have to fuel both body and mind with nourishment. They will crave what we give it most. Feed them toxic thoughts, food, company and see how they crave more toxicity in many inglorious forms. Make a conscious effort to shift your focus to those things that bring you joy and high vibes. Finally, surround yourself with people who support your growth and those negative influences will fall away.”
So what advice does she have for what we do after we move on? “How to move forward is just as important to the Love Manifestation process as preventing toxicity in the future. Creating that space for love is so much more than romance; it’s about stabilising and loving you first.
“My main advice if you are suffering as I did would be to upgrade your environment and find positive role models and teachers to surround yourself with. Focus your thoughts on what you’re putting out to the universe and avoid bullying yourself for past events and thoughts. Seek help and find relief in connecting with others who feel the same as you.”
So we have cast off the toxic dependant and established why we were attracting them so not to attract others. But how do we move forward and find new and fulfilling love?
“Finding is where you’re going wrong to start with. If we are seeking something it means we don’t yet have it. If our focus is on ‘finding’ the universe will reflect that back to us and we will continue our search. But you can’t see this as negative. The universe is a kind and positive force showing us the many ways we can increase our love attraction capabilities.
“If instead we ask the universe and place our order as we would in a restaurant, our only job is to get ready for its manifestation. The energy of knowing your ideal partner is on it way attracts that very thing. Its also very different form the low vibe omission you put out if you are ‘seeking’ which suggests effort on your part”.
For some of us, the merits of self-positivity are obvious ways to achieve a better life. But if it were so easy wouldn’t more of us be living our best romantic lives by now?
“That’s exactly it. Despite the formula seeming straightforward most people don’t pursue them. And that’s because they are not practising conscious thinking. Our subconscious rules a majority of our brain function, so in order to act out life changing decisions we have to consciously accept them first. Positive processes can be found from your own life experiences. So step back, process and enquire. Remain conscious and see what changes”.
So once we have found that nurturing and positive relationship how does Julia suggest we maintain them? Her answer, practicing presence; “Prioritising time for ourselves as well as for our relationships is crucial. Make time to put aside work and do things together that break the pattern. Scheduling quality time for yourself on a weekly basis is as important in your schedule as brushing your teeth. We get carried away with the chaos of working life so scheduling duvet days and passion pursuits are a must”, she adds.
Before we part, I ask her how she can be so certain that we have only to ‘think’ to manifest love. “If you had asked me that a few years ago I wouldn’t have had a clue. But since I made self-love and self-care part of my vocabulary I now appreciate the fulfilment that can be found in its simplicity. The universe is powerful. We can harness its power to create our best life. But you have to think it first. You have to believe.”