Here’s part two of my interview with Mara Glatzel, a self-love coach who authors the wise and always inspiring blog Medicinal Marzipan. Last week Mara launched her self-study Body Loving Homework E-Course. It’s a supportive and empowering e-course with practical tools for developing a healthier relationship with yourself and building a life you love.

Below, Mara shares what stands in the way of self-love (and how to overcome this obstacle), and the first step in realizing a beautiful life. She also reveals what became the toughest chapter for her to write in her e-course — and much, much more.

Learn more about Mara’s excellent e-course here. Don’t forget that Mara is generously offering a special discount code for Weightless readers. Just type in “SELFLOVE” to receive 10 percent off.

Q: What have you found to be the biggest obstacle for your clients and readers in cultivating self-love?

A: Figuring out how to begin. I think that often, the prospect of learning how to love ourselves seems to fall somewhere on the spectrum of uncomfortable to impossible, with our best intentions of bettering our relationship with ourselves getting pushed aside out of sheer overwhelm at the prospect of beginning.

This place is fantastic  – with nothing but possibility in front of us. My work with clients is the antidote for that feeling of overwhelm, because it’s based in my core belief the best place to begin is exactly where we are.

This isn’t a cookie cutter process – it is highly individual and so much of the journey depends on our personal preferences. I’ve found that when we begin the process of learning to love and trust ourselves, where we are – in this exact moment, we are better able to stay firmly grounded in our intentions and well-wishes for our lives. This isn’t about you becoming someone that you are not – it is about throwing the doors of our life open and welcoming more of ourselves in.

Q: How can we overcome this super common hurdle?  

A: Very simply, we can choose to approach ourselves with as much kindness and gentleness as we can muster. We may not be able to fully embody this loving attitude at first, but we can begin to practice it.

We can ask ourselves in the moment – “How could I treat myself kindly here?” or “What do I need here to make my experience of this moment better?” or “What does my body need to feel supremely nourished today?”

As we begin the process of learning how to cultivate a relationship with ourselves, we find that our experience within our daily life relaxes and becomes more spacious, instead of treating ourselves as some sort of hostile enemy or someone deserving of punishment.

A beautiful way to get into this habit is to begin by developing a daily baseline of self-care – the compilation of the ways that we pledge to care for our physical selves on a daily basis.

Think about this as self-care at its most basic level, the way that you care for the skin that you are in by drinking enough water, adhering to a hygiene ritual that leaves you feeling radiant, or making an effort to eat food that makes you feel really good inside.

When we make a practice of caring for ourselves, we begin to view ourselves as someone worth caring for. This switch in and of itself is transformative.

Q: What I love about your work is that you help women live the amazing lives we deserve. What’s one step women can take to get closer to realizing a beautiful life?

A: Allowing ourselves to dream expansively – without the boundaries and limitations of the figuring out “how” those dreams will be actualized. Too often, when we are guiding ourselves through the gorgeous process of imagining what we want out of our lives and who we want to be, we get stuck in a place of judgment or self-editing.

We scoff inwardly, teasing our expansive, dreaming selves, and demand to know how we plan on getting from where we are to wherever it is that we want to go. That process is not only painful, but is also debilitates our ability to creatively problem solve or get in touch with our heartfelt desires.

This is one of the reasons why I naturally gravitate towards utilizing writing as a core tenet of your self-love practice. When we are free writing, or writing without editing, we put ourselves in the place that allows us to dream without going back to cross out something or edit our thoughts.

I am constantly surprised by the things that I write down – as if they are the unrestricted utterances of my heart. This is a fantastic way to find our way back to ourselves – as it allows us to learn a new language for conversing with ourselves, one free from judgment and negative self-talk.

Q: This is an incredible compilation of 10 chapters on everything from determining our baseline for self-care to designing a life we love to cultivating self-trust. What was the toughest chapter for you to write? Why?

A: Great question. I think that the most difficult chapter for me to write was the chapter about sex, which is also one of the ones that I think is the most important.

As someone who is a survivor of sexual trauma, the process of reconnecting with this aspect of myself is one riddled with fear, vulnerability, and wishful thinking. As I was writing it, I was particularly conscious of the multitude of personal history that the readers bring to their sexual selves on a daily basis, and I wanted to strike a careful balance between supportive and encouraging.

Many of my clients experience difficulty in reconnecting with their bodies, for many reasons ranging from sexual trauma to negative body image to a lack of self-trust, and this section, while primarily about sex, is also about reconnecting with your body through engaging your senses.

The invitation from this chapter encourages readers to work to engage their senses through daily acts, like listening to particularly beautiful music or using essential oils, as reconnecting them with sensory pleasure and finding new ways to engage actively in their daily life.

I think that this is a fantastic and non-judgmental way to find our way back to ourselves and reconnect with the bodies that we may have severed the connection with long ago.

Q: Anything else you’d like readers to know about your e-course or cultivating self-love? 

A: I want to say this: it is absolutely possible for you. No matter what you’ve encountered, survived, or overcome. Our bodies and spirits are so magnificently resilient and welcoming.

For those who are hungry for a life filled with love and joy, returning home to ourselves is not only feasible, it is also deeply enriching and life-affirming. I firmly believe that a life grounded in self-love and profound self-acceptance is available to each and every one of us, if we are looking for it.

Thanks so much to Mara for sharing her wise words! If you haven’t read it yet, here’s part one of our interview.

More About Mara Glatzel

Mara Glatzel is a self-love coach + creator of the Body Loving Homework E-Course. She works with women who are ready to create the lives they want — and deserve. Her blog — Medicinal Marzipan — has inspired thousands of women to heal their relationships with their bodies, and treat themselves with relentless compassion. Catch up with her on Facebook, twitter, or join her body-loving mailing list for secret swapping and insider news.

* The post featuring this week’s body image booster will be published tomorrow.