Before and After My Self Love Program – Forever Unfolding the Real Me


BEFORE Cherise Holt (Age 22)
Cherise Holt (age 22): Celebrating my birthday with alcohol. I remember drinking so much I was laying on the floor of the restaurant, and vomiting in the bathroom.

Not that long ago I didn’t know what self-love meant or how to love myself. I was a girl with low self-esteem and little confidence around others. I was shy and I reserved my feelings for a limited crowd of family and close friends, but even then I was closed off from allowing anyone to see and fully discover the ‘real me’.

In keeping myself closed to others I thought I was protecting myself from getting hurt or rejected, but in actual fact I was hurting and rejecting myself most deeply. I had created a picture of what and who I should be and fooled even myself with the quiet, ‘nice girl’ persona.

I prided myself on my ability to listen intently, be responsible, provide care for my family and patients at work, but inside I was feeling more drained and distant from other people. I wasn’t really looking after myself in a way that supported my everyday life and I certainly didn’t think I was worth making time for, or deserving of, loving care for myself or my own body.

BEFORE: Cherise Holt (Age 26)
Cherise Holt (Age 26): At a work party, my eyes are saying ‘don’t look at me’, shy, withdrawn and feeling sad in my everyday life.

This played out by my indulging in food and using things like TV as a distraction in mostly every spare minute I ever had.

I felt withdrawn, anxious and tense within my own body. As I grew older my shoulders hunched as I worked on perfecting my outward smile in an attempt to cover the sadness I felt from not living the love and joy that I knew I could be. I was numbing myself with food and at times alcohol and I was suffering from anxiety; the food and alcohol became my coping tools when I just wanted to fit in with others, or simply didn’t want the real me to be seen or noticed.

I had a picture of what would bring happiness and love to my life, a list of things from the outside, the home, the husband and children. But as I ticked these things off my list I was realising this wasn’t it. I was missing out on a deeper love, a love that could never be given to me by someone else, it could only come from my own heart by choosing true love for myself; by learning how to love myself and choosing to live the real me.


In November 2010, I began a program with a Universal Medicine practitioner. We called this a program of ‘Self-Love’ and from my first esoteric healing session I knew that there was more to life than the picture I had limited myself by. I began to learn to love myself and to feel and trust my body for the first time since I was a small child.

AFTER: Cherise Holt (Age 30)
Cherise Holt (Now age 30): Self-accepting, self-loving, self-honouring, beautiful woman.

In the past three years I have shed accumulated layers of hurt and sadness and narrow ways of thinking of how I thought I should be. Although I have dropped around 30kg it has not been about losing physical weight for me – the weight literally came off as I began to accept myself and as I began to learn to love myself and treat my body with the love it always deserved. It has been about discovering who I am once again – discovering the real me – and sharing this unreservedly with others.

I am forever grateful for the inspiration that the practitioners of Universal Medicine have gifted me. I have made countless new and loving choices to support me to live what feels natural; not to better myself, but from the knowing that I am already so amazing, so beautiful. My diet and exercise routines are always changing to be more supportive and I make choices by listening to my body, going to bed early when I am tired, eating to nourish my body, not holding back from sharing what I feel with others – and I absolutely love going to work and being with other people.

As I have been learning how to love myself more and more deeply, I am now accepting myself and of who I am, and this feels like just the beginning. I have a willingness to grow, to understand and discover more about life and I have made a commitment to living in full, the real ME.

It’s a miracle to me that I have let go of such a shield of protection and hardness and given myself the permission to expand and unfold the natural and joyful Cherise… the natural and joyful me!

By Cherise Holt, 30, Nurse, Australia

BEORE: Cherise Holt (Age 27)
Cherise Holt (Age 27):
Me “withdrawn, anxious and tense” and feeling very uncomfortable in my own skin.

AFTER: Cherise Holt (Age 30)
Cherise Holt (Now age 30):
Passionate about life, lover of people, committed to sharing me with the world.

430 thoughts on “Before and After My Self Love Program – Forever Unfolding the Real Me

  1. Great sharing Cherise, so much of what you have delivered fits my life and like you thanks to the healing modalities from Universal Medicine I am also a walking miracle because of the Loving changes that I have made in my life ,and living in away to appreciate who I am on the inside or essence.

  2. Thinking that we have to hide, protect and somehow be in a certain way simply to be in the world is a dis-ease many of us suffer.

  3. As we begin to reconnect to our true essence and allow ourselves to be who we are it’s going to feel more natural to self care because it’s such a joy to be ourselves. When we are disconnected from our essence we can find ourselves medicating with foods, TV, alcohol, etc, because of the emptiness we feel within and the agony of missing ourselves.

  4. To learn to love ourselves deeply and accepting ourselves fully is all that it takes to bring harmony back to this world.

  5. I feel so inspired by reading about your “self-love program” that I am feeling to begin one for myself. Over the last few years I have deepened my love for myself so much but I can feel that there is so much deeper to go, and that I am ready to explore. After all, we can never have too much love, can we?

    1. Yes I was feeling this too, as I re-read Cherise’s blog today. There is no plateau for self love, which then leads on to loving others more also. A win win.

      1. A great reminder Sue that ‘there is no plateau for self love”, just endless opportunities to deepen that love for oneself and from that deepening the love-filled ripples naturally flow on out to others.

  6. One of the most lovely things about self-love is that it allows us to really honour what we really feel from our inner wisdom and I would say one of the greatest sources of inner pain that we carry is this dishonouring of our inner wisdom or knowing that we have from the day we are born that the world asks us to shut down and dismiss.

  7. “I prided myself on my ability to listen intently, be responsible, provide care for my family and patients at work, but inside I was feeling more drained and distant from other people.” If people were as honest as you here, I wonder how many would say that they are also living their life like this? I imagine that many a hand would go up. By you sharing your story you are showing us that it is possible (in a short period of time) to live the same on the outside as you do on the inside. The amount of energy/tension we use to keep the outer face and the inner face is exhausting.

  8. Cherise, the changes you have made to your health and wellbeing in such a short period of time, are very inspiring and worthy of deep appreciation. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

  9. When we hold back our natural way of expressing, the joy that lives within us, we hurt ourselves deeply as it is living imprisoned in a set of behaviours that are not true to us.

    1. It is quite incomprehensible to think that actually “hold back our natural way of expressing the joy that lives within us”, after all it is part of who we are. It’s a bit like a bird choosing not to use its wings to fly and just walk everywhere. We would think that to be very strange, so why don’t we think that about ourselves? Time to unfurl our beautiful wings and fly.

      1. And yet when our living human environment shows us differently day in day out we start to believe that we cannot fly.

  10. A stunning example of how the power of love can transform lives, seriously amazing. From being completely lost to knowing who we are guided by a connection to a love within is very possible, as you have showed and continue to do so through how you live as you have shared through many of your blogs. An inspiration for us to see that living in honor of our love within the power of who we are, just by being our natural selves.

  11. The word permission here is so important, so many people know deep down they need to man different and much more loving choices – but they don’t give themselves the permission to drop their guards down and begin to discover who they actually are.

    1. Interesting this thing about permission – we don’t give ourselves permission because in some way, we’re not feeling that we’re worth it. I remember my uncle asking me if I really loved myself, and feeling gobsmacked by his question. I had no idea what it even meant to love myself, let alone allow myself to actually do it. Slowly, by learning to feel what I’m feeling without judgment, and make incremental changes to my life to live in a more loving way, this has shifted hugely – and continues to unfold and deepen.

      1. I love your comment Bryony – it’s crazy that we don’t consider loving ourselves until someone else suggests it – but what an amazing process to initiate.

  12. Our face seems to be designed to disguise how we are truly doing. What is with the smile? It seems we can fake happiness easily with it, so to convince us and others that things are ok. Yet, if we look past the smile, the whole face is communicating: help!!! I am totally trapped!!

  13. Diets don’t work but self-love does – we get to a point when we just cannot harm our body anymore and out go the superfluous food, the TV watching, the hiding and being nice for the sake of being accepted by others.

  14. Living the real me, what does that mean actually? Well it is not showing a “joy only” version of you. Yes, we are joy, love, beauty in essence but that is not always what we feel though all kinds of reasons. I have fooled myself big time that showing the real me, is meaning only showing that joyful part. The real me is everything what is there to be felt, including the tiredness, the sadness, the stressed shoulders, the sore foot etc. If we don’t allow also that part, then the joyful part cannot be there as well in full.

    1. That’s a great point Willem that reality is not always amazing, it can be uncomfortable, challenging, painful. But there is a lot of beauty in keeping things real and in even our uncomfortable lessons.

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