FOUNDER AND CEO OF GUGU INTIMATES
Isn’t it funny how, one day, you wake up and the desire to truly love yourself has shot way up your list of quests to conquer? And how, after that day, nothing is ever the same? You can never not be this person who wants to make a better effort at it.
Going through my journals and social-media posts over the years remains one of my favourite ways to reflect on my life. It is there where I can pinpoint the steps – big and small – into myself. I am kinder to myself now. When I used to say ‘I love myself’, it was tempered with the idea that the proof of that self-love was in how others loved me or perceived me. To be at a point now when the phrase ‘I love myself’ is about me and me alone, has been nothing short of an adventure.
I’ve also evolved in the way I carry myself. I’ve shaved my head and have never loved this face more – this face that I used to hide behind volumes of hair. I edit myself less too, be it the images of myself I post or when I act in response to fear of any kind of judgement.
How do you start a business whose vision is to inspire womxn of all shades, shapes and sizes to feel beautiful and comfortable in their own skin – all while working with your own self-love ‘stuff’? I knew from the start that I can’t inspire a vision I don’t believe in for myself. When I first started working on Gugu Intimates, I realised how much my self-talk affected the quality of my life. I was mortified at how I would shut myself down for different things – my skin, weight, laugh. I caught myself using words that, if I overheard them being said to someone else, I’d probably call the Human Rights Commission.
These days, I have decided to always hear myself out, and then to play judge and jury; as in, is that absolutely true? The straight-talk in the mirror has become so much more sincere. I hold myself to replacing each negative statement with one that is true – even if, at first, I may not entirely believe it. Because when I start by accepting myself, whatever the trait or feature, I can then start to inch closer to loving myself from there. This is based on one of my newer beliefs: that self-love is truly an essential ingredient to living well. The more positive you are about yourself, the better you relate to the world, and the better you create.