Artwork: Andrea Hurtarte @anmlstudio
Lisa Welsh is a holistic life coach and 'self-love' expert. Through thought-provoking and mindset-shifting questions, as well as hard-won wisdom (of course!), Lisa propels and supports open conversations about confidence, body-image, healing, sensuality, food and sex. Always rocking whatever feels good while inspiring other women to do the same, it's easy to admire Lisa for her energy, honesty and kindness, and here at Ellen Terrie we just can't get enough of the safe and non-judgemental online space that she's created to help women reach their full potential.
"Why is self-love so important?" you might be asking. Well, read on because we caught up with Lisa to talk about the importance of self-love, as well as how women can live more embodied and pleasure-filled lives...
FOR THOSE THAT HAVE NEVER COME ACROSS YOUR WORK BEFORE, TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT WHO YOU ARE, WHAT YOU DO AND WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO START THE WORK THAT YOU DO.
Hello, I’m Lisa and I help overwhelmed and numb women to live juicier and more fulfilled lives.
The majority of women I know are frantically busy, taking care of many people and juggling multiple roles with barely a minute to get in touch with what they want and need.I teach these women to take a step back to fill their own cups and rediscover their pleasure. And of course, that means dealing with the feelings of guilt and shame that come up when they take a moment for themselves.
I feel like I was born to do this work, although it took many years and lots of courage to fully step into this role. My story has been incredibly painful, but through it, I discovered the power of coming home to my body, fully embracing my sexual power and allowing that strength to permeate every aspect of my life. My body matured very early, I started my period aged 9 and sadly my young years were tarnished with abandonment, sexual abuse, and shame about my blossoming body. I wasn’t protected by the people closest to me and learned that being a feminine woman was unsafe. I fully disconnected from my sexuality and put all of my focus into achieving as much as I could academically. Everything seemed fine on the outside. I achieved straight A's at school, learned to drive, bought a car, paid my own way through university, got a great job in London. But, behind closed doors, my self-worth was at rock bottom. I allowed men to take advantage of me, put myself into shockingly dangerous situations and let things happen to my body, even though I was screaming inside. I didn’t try to protect myself at all.It has taken me years to rebuild the connection with my body, to forgive myself for what I allowed to happen, and to heal from the abuse that I didn’t try to stop while I closed my eyes and tried to zone out.By healing the shame and reclaiming my feminine sexuality I have been able to become whole again and it feels so good.
BEING A 'SELF-LOVE EXPERT', WHAT DOES SELF-LOVE MEAN TO YOU AND WHY DO YOU FEEL THAT IT'S SO IMPORTANT?
I am constantly playing with the exact term to fit what I do. ’Self-love expert’ seemed to fit because I believe that I have a gift to show women just how incredible they are… and just how much they deserve to be loved, by themselves and everyone else! Self-love means so many things. Nourishing yourself, forgiving yourself, coming home to your body, enforcing self-honouring boundaries, living a life that actually feels true to you, dissolving that people-pleasing knot in your chest, acting in line with your gut intuition.
WHY DO YOU THINK SO MANY OF US FIND SELF-LOVE CHALLENGING?
It is far from easy to live this way, in fact, I still find it hard. I have to remind myself continually. And there is really only one reason that we find self-love difficult – because we don’t think we deserve it. We feel selfish for spending the time, energy, money and other resources on ourselves. We’ve been taught that good women nurture others, and we believe the voices in our head that tell us we aren’t worthy.
AS YOU SAID, SELF-LOVE MEANS SO MANY THINGS AND LOOKS A LITTLE DIFFERENT TO EACH OF US, BUT IF YOU COULD SUGGEST A SIMPLE PRACTICE TO GET SOMEONE CLOSER TO LOVING THEMSELVES RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
A simple practice to cultivate self-love is creating enough space in your life to ‘hear’ what you actually want and need. That means prioritising yourself, saying no, and dedicating some time to discover who you are and what you actually like. Because it’s very easy to go through life without ever asking what YOU like.
Take 30 minutes to complete the following journal activity:
- Where are you overstretched in your life?
- How can you reduce your obligations?
- Where can you carve out time for just you?
- Brainstorm how you’d like to use that you-time.
Follow your intuition without judgement, and without simply going along with what everyone else does. You might find that you love to dance, create, bake, sing, write, play drums, run, sleep, self-pleasure. There’s no wrong answer. Start here and see how much pleasure you can add to your life…and then follow the good feelings. That is true self love – it will spill over into all areas of your life and will benefit all of your close relationships. Trust me, it becomes easier with practice.
IN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS, YOU TALK ABOUT BECOMING MORE EMBODIED IN YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE. CAN YOU EXPLAIN TO US WHAT IT MEANS TO BE EMBODIED?
Cast your mind back to when you were a child, on a warm summer’s day, you could smell the cut grass through the classroom window and hear the birds singing. You longed to run outside with no shoes and roll in the mud. But instead you were told “Sit quietly, don’t get messy, listen to your teacher.” You were taught to disconnect from your body, to be a good girl. The easiest way to cope with the uncomfortable longing of your body was to disconnect from it. So instead, you prioritised your brain and forced yourself to sit for hours, forgetting that your body had valid needs of its own. Being embodied means tuning back into your body, slipping out of thinking mode and letting your body take the reins. The beautiful thing is, your body is always communicating with you. You just need to remember how to hear it and to learn to trust it.
ARE THERE ANY SIGNS THAT WE CAN LOOK FOR THAT MIGHT INDICATE THAT WE'RE DISCONNECTED FROM OUR BODY?
If you feel like you are just going through the motions of life, you are probably tuned out of your body. Other signs that you are not embodied are feeling numb, empty, disconnected, and dissatisfied.
CAN YOU SUGGEST SOME SIMPLE STEPS WE CAN TAKE TO HELP US BECOME MORE IN TUNE WITH OUR BODY AND BE MORE EMBODIED?
There are simple steps that you can do to become more embodied, start by checking in with your body periodically. Set an alarm and when it goes off, just stop what you are doing. Notice how it feels inside your body, how is your breathing. Are you holding tension? How are your energy levels? Does your body need anything? Does your body want to move?Try dancing without thinking about how to move. Try making love without letting your mind wander away from the sensations that you feel. The more you practice, the more natural it will feel.
YOU ALSO TALK ABOUT EXPANDING YOUR CAPACITY FOR PLEASURE ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS.
WHY IS ALLOWING OURSELVES THE OPPORTUNITY TO RECEIVE PLEASURE IMPORTANT?
Pleasure is the antidote to modern life. It teaches you to be more present, reduces cortisol, boosts endorphins and even releases nitric oxide, a powerful little neurotransmitter that works in many wonderful ways to help you feel good.
HOW CAN WE OPEN OURSELVES UP TO RECEIVING MORE PLEASURE IN OUR DAILY LIVES?
As women, we typically reject pleasure and feel like it is an indulgent waste of time. But I personally discovered that following my pleasure allowed me to come fully home to my body, to learn to trust myself and heal many wounds. You can harness the power of pleasure by practicing receiving loving attention from both yourself and others. Try saying no to things you don’t want, and yes to the things you do. Accept help when it is offered, allow yourself to receive love, and know in your heart that you are deserving of it.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU? DO YOU HAVE ANY EXCITING PROJECTS IN THE PIPELINES AND WILL WE SEE A RETURN OF YOUR PODCAST?
I recently put all of my content on ice, that included my youtube channel, my podcast and even all of my IG posts. I archived everything so that I could start afresh in a solid direction. That’s where I am heading now, preparing to launch a brand new 1:1 coaching programme, who’s name is a work in progress. It is designed to help women to follow their pleasure to escape their current, exhausted, overwhelmed reality. It will teach women who they are, how valuable they are and how they can step out of the mould they are trying to squeeze into, to reclaim their full power as a vibrant, sexual being. One who could never fit into any preconceived notion of what a woman should be. I can’t wait to get this out into the world!