As a teenager I was a mess and ended up in a bad relationship with someone.
He wasn't a bad person in any way, he was just a normal teenage boy. He ended up cheating on me and the way he spoke to me and treated me was disrespectful. I remember hating who I was, crying all of the time and wishing I was thinner, prettier and better than I was. I felt unworthy of love and blamed myself for his cheating.
My self confidence got so low my friend noticed that whenever he was around me, it was like I had a dark cloud hanging over my head. I was a shadow of my former self and I felt worthless.
It got to the stage where I sobbed my heart out one day, locked away in my bedroom, praying to God.
'Please God, let me just meet someone who loves me for being me'. I can still picture this scene as if it was yesterday. It was only a few days later that I realised that I was never going to meet my soul mate until I loved myself the way I wanted someone to love me.
With that flash of inspiration I got into self-help books, personal development books and positive psychology. Without knowing it at the time, I devised some key exercises that I would do most days to build up my self esteem and self worth and I made a commitment to be the best person that I could be and to always believe in myself and love myself.
I'm now happily married to my soul mate and we have three wonderful children together - Koen is my eldest boy, Torin is my second boy and Eden is my little girl. I am very blessed and am so thankful for the bad relationship I experienced. Without it, I wouldn't be who I am today.
Women all over the world have been through times when they've doubted themselves. We're good at it.
What we're not good at is realising that we don't have to doubt ourselves.
But many of us live in the shadow of the fear, doubt and worry. Those negative voices become the ones we listen to. We learn to drown out the compliments, the hope and the love.
I'd like that to change.
I currently coach teenage girls to help them know it's good to be them. Why? Because it's the age women seem to start doubting themselves. In fact, I've coached nine year old girls who have already started to worry that they're not good enough. Over the past ten years I've coached women with low self esteem who all want to be loved. Their self worth was hindered by something that happened to them at school. They never got over it and listened to the negative opinions for the rest of their lives.
Teenage girls learn to compare themselves to others.
They think that their self worth is tied up to the grades that they get and they look for love anywhere other than themselves. I've coached women in their 40s who still do the same.
So, it's my wish for any woman reading this that you start to realise your own worth as soon as you can.
Yes, life can throw us crap, but by dealing with it we learn how strong we are. So what if you're not the size society deems to be 'perfect' - size isn't everything.
If you're not doing something every day that makes you happy, then please change that. If you don't feel loved then please start to love yourself.
What matters is that you know how wonderful you are, you love yourself and you do what makes you happy every day.
You really do deserve it.
*Part of this article is taken from 'The Happy Woman: What You Can Learn from Kids, Dogs and Men.'