Browsing Tag


Self Worth

8 Places this Depressed Girl Searched for Happiness

June 2018
Jane Curnow

I spent 25 years searching for happiness.  Ultimately that is what depression is?  I always believed there was something wrong with me as clearly I looked like what most told me should bring me happiness and with the constant feedback I received from family that was I was too emotional, too sensitive, too dumb, get over yourself, grow up, blah, blah blah I was miserable… So I searched and searched for the answer to my misery and how I could change myself and my life in order to be accepted and find happiness.

I used to hear and read over and over that happiness was an inside job and I just thought that was a load of crap! And it didn’t apply to me. How could I possibly be happy when I didn’t have the degree, career, money, man, house, kids etc. etc. I felt incredible pressure to “do” life in a certain order and without these things or circumstances I was miserable and felt like I had failed at life.

I also read that loving yourself was paramount to finding true happiness. But this brought up internal conflict for me as growing up loving yourself was a derogatory term. You were labeled “up yourself” and frowned upon so it was something I avoided at all costs! I was not taught to take pride in myself whether that be any achievement or taking care of my body. I was also not given any praise or positive feedback for anything so even before I have reached my teenage years and the influence of the media is greater I was already battling low self-worth.

So as an adult I spent 25 years chasing happiness through the external and the following channels.

  1. In my next purchase. I was a shopaholic. Mainly clothes like most girls. Usually on credit.. I was always combing the stores for my next bargain and then more recently online shopping meant I could shop anytime! I hated being seen in the same outfit more than a few times and was always so excited to go home with loads of shopping bags. My wardrobe was overflowing! The joy from shopping is always fleeting.. that’s why we go back over and over again to chase the next purchase.. and the next.. Sourcing happiness from material things whether it be clothes, a house, car, technology is a never-ending cycle.
  2. In my next relationship. Despite having a few long term relationships clearly with my low self-worth they were not going to be the right ones and although they lessened my depression they inevitable brought up other issues. Having a healthy relationship with a partner starts with a healthy relationship with yourself. My single years brought out the very (very!) desperate Jane and my depression hit an all-time low and would see my two attempts to exit all together. Coming from a space of desperation of course I got my heart broken over and over. But it wasn’t just romantic relationships, I have not been consistent with friendships either. As soon as my issues started to emerge I would move on or they would. I would put a lot of effort into searching for new friends online as well as a partner with the hope that the next relationship would give me happiness and resolve my depression.
  3. In the next person to solve my problems. I was always seeking out professional help. I have seen dozens of different psychiatrists, psychologists, psychoanalysts under the traditional therapy method. If I didn’t find the peace & happiness I was searching for I would move on sure that the next one would give me the answers. I also did the rounds of alternate therapist’s; energetic healing was one I stuck with for a long time and I do believe contributed to my recovery. I have also tried kinesiology, naturopathy, transformational healing, reiki & hypnotherapy.
  4. In my next home. I am a homemaker and part of my attachment to the picket fence dream was not just the man and children but the house. The breakdown in my second marriage saw my devastation not only for the relationship but over the loss of my house that I had spent 100’s of hours decorating, renovating and cleaning. So I very much resented the “shoe box” living (one bedroom apartment) which was all I could afford through my single years. So I would move regularly, trying different areas to live in with the hope that the next move would bring me happiness.
  5. In my next job. Changing jobs too often is still frowned upon in the corporate world which I totally disagree with but it depends on the reasons. There is a big difference in changing roles to gain more experience and skills in comparison to why I was changing jobs which was searching for happiness or because I had pissed off too many people! A corporate role was never going to give me happiness given what my passions are in life but as I was good at my job it was relatively easy for me to obtain a new one. So I did regularly sure that the next job would bring me my man and happiness..
  6. In my next physical enhancement. With my unhealthy obsession in my exterior naturally the aging process was not something I embraced or dealt with well! So I was always trying the latest painful skin treatment hoping that the next one would magically turn back the clock, make me youthful again but more importantly make me happy. IPL, fraxel, botox; all very painful! And expensive.. my dependence on my exterior was continually reinforced not only by the way society glorifies attractive women but youth and with the realization that I actually was one of the lucky ones the pressure I felt was massive. I am attractive so why don’t I have my dream life..? why am I so unhappy? I felt there was something seriously wrong with me! So keeping what I perceived as the only thing going for me consumed me!
  7. In my next escape. By this I don’t mean holiday escape, I mean escape from my reality! Drugs and alcohol do have a way of giving you some happiness… albeit brief! And can be a great way of relaxing and socializing if it is for healthy reasons. But for me it was an addiction and a means of escape from myself. When you spend every waking moment hating the very person you spend all your time with a temporary escape allows you to find a brief respite. Watching TV was another avenue to block out my pain and reality. But the high always comes down, the morning always comes, the entertainment always ends. Another never ending cycle..
  8. Recognition from others. Having had an unsupportive family my entire life, never feeling good enough and suffering with low self-worth I have continually sort out validation from others to feel happy. When you have no concept of your own worth the only way to source any positive feedback is from others.

Since my recovery from depression and regaining my self-worth I read back over these points that describe the old Jane with compassion and relief that I no longer feel this way! But too many of us fall into these traps as comparisonities runs rampant in society today. You only have to turn on the TV to see where we develop our insatiable need for material things and happiness from external factors.

Happiness truly is a decision within your own mind, it’s a perception, its focusing on the awesome things in life (and there always are no matter what the circumstances) its living in the present moment and not obsessing about the past (which no longer exists) or worrying about the future (which also does not exist) but ultimately its taking responsibility for yourself and your own happiness. Easier said than done!

Happiness is not a destination, its a way of life!

Nourish your Body

Are you approaching fitness in an unhealthy way?

January 2018
Jane Curnow

Are you a group exercise cardio addict fuelling your obsession to be skinny? Are your gym sessions punishment for what you ate? Do you starve yourself and skip meals to look like a catwalk model? Do you only care about the number of calories with no knowledge or care of nutritional value of food? Do you enviously look at other women’s bodies? Would you give anything to look like I do in this photo..?

I have been obsessed with my weight and appearance my entire adult life. For 25 years I would have answered a resounding YES to all of the questions above.  As I was so unhappy with myself and my life I sourced my self-worth and identity from my appearance.  Being blonde, slim and attractive seemed to be the only thing I had going for me so I clung to it for dear life.  I would look at the parade of beautiful skinny women on TV and have a running commentary in my head, judging and comparing every woman I came across on their weight and looks. And I can’t believe that I would gain satisfaction from the results of my internal dialogue and comparisonitis if I thought that I was better looking!

As I was exercising regularly and not overweight I believed I was healthy. I had no clue that my lack of nourishment of my body and the continual stress of high impact cardio style exercise without the necessary fuel was actually causing inflammation in my body. I would barely eat and then jump around like a mad woman for an hour.  I would binge drink on excessive amounts of alcohol and front up at the gym the next morning…  I would binge eat over the weekend (to recover from the alcohol intake…) and then do a double class at the gym on Mondays as punishment.. followed by a week of barely eating and more high impact cardio until next weekend… How could I have possibly believed that this was a healthy lifestyle? But all I cared about was being skinny and escaping myself.

I also cared little for the food I actually did eat. Having not been educated on this at school and any learning was via food labels or advertising.. My sole focus was low calories so I ate low fat, no fat, low carb, no carb, preferably no calorie food! And the binge on the weekend was of course to soak up the alcohol so not so healthy..  and then I spent the next 5 days punishing myself for weekend sins.  And while I would not have been officially labelled with anorexia or bulimia this was far from a healthy approach to food & exercise.  With the knowledge I have now I consider the old Jane to have had an eating disorder and this was my cycle for over 10 years!

There is so many things about the school curriculum that does not equip us to lead a healthy and successful life. And while we will always need to learn the basics of reading and writing I have a real issue with the fact that nourishing our body is paramount to lead a happy and healthy life and this is not taught in school.  Physical education (PE) is however but too many of us did not enjoy this school subject and endured it being forced to do things that were not enjoyable or we are not good at and often made us feel embarrassed in front of classmates.  Not really a healthy introduction to exercise that again needs to be incorporated into our lives to ensure quality of life.

After we leave school (or even during these days) we are then assaulted from all forms of media with skinny, flawless women and our comparisonitis is born. Too many of us enter adulthood already with this infliction that seems to plague us women.  And without the necessary knowledge to love, nourish and nurture our body we usually get away with it while our body is young but as we age things start to go wrong…  I am one of the lucky ones that although my first serious injury wasn’t until I was 45 I have managed to take my first big wakeup call and changed my life as a result.

It saddens me deeply to see so many receive a warning from their bodies but ignore it simply through ignorance. Chronic illness or injury is never a shock to the body; it has been brewing for some time we just never stop and listen. So it does becomes a shock for us when it makes its way into our conscious awareness.  Preparing your body for 100 years (?) means adopting a healthy approach to food and exercise. And when you do you become more in tune with your body and can pick up when things don’t feel right.

So what can you do if you are on the same merry go around that I was? Here are my top 6 tips to start approaching exercise in a healthy way to ensure enjoyment, premium health and longevity.

  1. Self-Educate. Your body is a one model issued and has to last a lifetime. What quality of life do you want in your senior years? Educating yourself on what micronutrients your body requires to run at a premium is paramount. Food labels and ads are not factual… the manufactured food industry employs very clever marketers to ensure you buy their product! We live in an age where libraries are at our finger tips. Information on healthy nutrition is just a few clicks away. Google it!
  2. Body Love. Learning to love and appreciate your body for the miraculous machine that it is rather than what it looks like will change your perspective on food and exercise. When your health becomes a priority over simply looking good a whole new world opens up. And the funny thing is that you end up looking better than ever before! AND you get your dream body! Trust me!
  3. Fitness for Enjoyment. You gotta find exercise you enjoy… There is no point enduring your exercise or viewing it as punishment as this only serves to raise cortisol, the stress hormone, and is counterproductive to your weight loss goals. And if you don’t enjoy it you will always find an excuse, you will stop/start and not commit fully. This is a lifestyle, there is no end, and ensuring lifelong health means ALWAYS incorporating exercise into your routine. Zumba, dancing, walking the dog, swimming, tennis, team sport, yoga, whatever!
  4. Self-respect. Along the lines of body love but one step further. If we truly love and respect ourselves then being envious of others plays no part in our life. It is the cure for comparionsitis! Honouring and respecting you not just the beautiful human you already are but the one life you have been blessed with leads you to nurturing the very vehicle that facilitates your life. I gained my self-respect through changing my diet and the right exercise for me. And you can too!
  5. Mindfulness. By this I mean take the time to be still, to quieten the mind, to block out the continual noise that comes from TV/media, spend time in nature, be present in the moment, listen and notice, smell and appreciate, express gratitude and meditate.
  6. Get a coach! I say this often but to me it is the only way to change habits, to change lifelong conditioning, to explore all of the above points as applicable to you and implement into your life. Life is busy! And we are lazy… and as we haven’t been equipped with these life skills having a coach to teach you will not only keep you accountable but you will have a much better chance of implementing permanent change.

If I can totally overhaul my health, fitness and approach to food after knocking on deaths door you can too. Change is never easy but the rewards on the other side are beyond my wildest dreams!

Have I missed anything? If you have any further tips for approaching food & exercise in a healthy way please comment below!


Self Worth

Confidence is Silent, Insecurities are Loud!

April 2015

Have you ever noticed that some people quietly go about their business and are not concerned what others think?  When faced with a situation of differing opinions or someone with a problem they just listen and empathise?  They will offer their opinion when asked but respect that everyone feels and sees things differently?  They are easy to be around.

Are you always trying to convince others that the way you see things is the only way to view a situation? Do you have disagreements because your opinion is right and you won’t accept another point of view? Do you always have to have your say and voice your opinion? Are you so closed off to how others feel (because you don’t agree with how they feel) that you find it difficult to have a calm conversation about it?

I have to admit this has been me for the majority of my life.  I was well known for giving “The Curnow Crunch” Lol!  I wouldn’t hesitate to tell people what I thought and I would never stop to think before shooting off.  I thought I had convinced myself that I didn’t care how others felt or my impact on others.  I actually didn’t think I had much of an impact on others hence the need to force my point of view.  I used to think that I just didn’t fit in and that others were just plain stupid for not seeing things the way I did.  Sometimes I would go back and give a double handed apology; standing by my opinion (because I was right) but sorry that I was so aggressive in my approach (because deep down I felt bad but didn’t realise why)

It has only recently occurred to me why I have always behaved like this and more importantly that I no longer feel the need to engage in this kind of behaviour.  Phew!  Already my life has become more peaceful.  It’s so weird how we put ourselves under so much additional pressure!

The reasons behind feeling insecure will be different for all of us.  We all carry scars from history but the important thing is to not only accept that the past is something we can do nothing about, recognise that how you behave is due to feeling insecure and work on changing your behaviour today.   Not so easy when you are still feeling insecure or worse are in denial that this is why you behave that way (which was me down to a tee!)  When you don’t feel good about yourself we tend to find ways to project this onto others with this weird expectation that if we make others feel inferior, if we force our view on to others then somehow that will help us feel better about ourselves.  Doesn’t usually work…

So how do we overcome a lifetime of conditioning to feel secure enough within ourselves so we don’t need to be so “loud”?  How do we detach ourselves from the need to always voice our opinion? Here are my top 5 tips for becoming confidently silent!

  1. Do your inner work – by this I mean meditating, spending time alone, journaling, get to know yourself, read inspirational books, practise gratitude, kindness and forgiveness and make the time to look after yourself both physically and emotionally.
  2. Respect others feelings – we all view life very differently based on our past and life conditioning.  No one’s feelings or opinions are right or wrong and as I am fairly certain we live in a democratic society we are entitled to feel however we want.
  3. Listen – instead of jumping in with your opinion or view try listening and empathising.  Practise reflective listening ie. Repeat back in your own words what you understand has been said. Keep your opinion and advice to yourself unless specifically asked.
  4. Don’t respond to rude, argumentative, critical comments.  You don’t have to participate in every argument you are invited to particularly when the attitude is already a negative one.  I find no response at all is the best option.  If you don’t engage with the negativity there is nothing for the other person to feed on.
  5. Let go – of needing to be right, the need to win, to be superior, of your reputation, being offended, of your ego…

Respecting others begins with respecting yourself.   It is very difficult to find value in others when you are blinded by your own lack of self-worth.  It’s a tough one to come to terms with but I promise you once you do your life will change in ways you have only dreamed of!

Self Worth

The Perfect Female Form

January 2015
Jane Curnow

What is the perfect female form? Where is it written that as women our bodies must be a certain size and shape? We all strive, sacrifice and place ourselves under so much stress to achieve this modern day, dare I say, illusion and then beat ourselves up when we fall short. Did our great grandmothers feel the same pressure? Do women in villages in Africa today feel this pressure? Where did we get this obsession of comparing ourselves to others? And surely there are more important things in life?

What does it feel like to actually achieve the perfect female form? Do you think that if you managed to achieve it you would be happier? Is this the answer to all your problems? I have been fortunate enough to be slim most of my life (so why wasn't I happy..?), however I have not escaped eating disorders or the intense pressure too many women feel about their bodies. Having debuted as a bikini model at the tender age of 46, at an age where surely the pressure lessens? I have learnt some valuable and life changing lessons on chasing this illusion and is why I feel so passionate about supporting women to feel good about themselves whatever their size!

I will be honest with you, although on the outside I have always appeared attractive, I have not loved myself, I have not treated myself with respect and I had no idea that this was the core of my issues. I was ugly on the inside but couldn't see it although realised that I was far from happy. I was also shy and introverted, I had no confidence in any area of my life (although you never would have guessed it) and I went to extraordinary lengths to hide the real Jane. Born from a lack of unconditional love I have spent a lifetime believing there is something wrong with me, attracting relationships and circumstances that did not foster a positive self image and always searching for the answer of how to “fix” myself.Therapists/books/courses/diets/relationships/addictions the list goes on and on of things I have tried to correct and to hide from my perceived flaws. So in my mid 40’s, having missed out on having children due to my inability to “fix” myself in time, and quite clearly hating myself even more, (but didn't know it) I go to the HUGE lengths of getting up on stage in a bikini. Surely if I obtain the perfect female form AND get the attention and adoration of everyone I will be happy and feel good about myself?

I started down this road for all the wrong reasons; for vanity, for attention, to fill a void, to obtain the perfect female form and to finally be happy… Really? Is that the answer?

A funny thing happens when you start treating your body with love and respect. When you start nurturing it with the right fuel and you become physically strong through resistance training. Most would say you have to be mentally strong to compete in the body building world. I would definitely agree, however, I certainly didn’t start out that way and I am not sure most women do. And although I can now freely admit that I am addicted to this new way of life (I have been addicted to far worse!) it has given me what I have spent my entire life searching for; self respect. Ironic isn't it? Too many women tie their self esteem to their bodies without appreciating the soul that body houses. It stands to reason if you start treating your body with love and respect, when you start to feel the affects of premium health and wellbeing, that your mind will follow and low and behold there is this amazing women inside and guess what? she has always been there!

Well you know the ending to my story; I achieved it. That is me in the picture attached to this blog. I managed to get myself on stage twice and I have had numerous photo shoots and captured all my blood, sweat and tears. And believe me there were a lot of tears. A journey that nearly broke me physically, emotionally, mentally, financially; I lost friends (think that was really a gain), my family didn’t support me, cleared a large chunk of my savings, I have even had trouble securing corporate work. Talk about sacrifices for the sake of obtaining this illusive perfect female form! We look at images of these women and aspire to have their bodies but I don’t think anyone realises what it takes to achieve and how difficult it is to maintain. Did I “fix” myself? Was I even broken? I have certainly come a long way but NOT because of the body I now own, oddly that is not even my main priority anymore (I am now trying to put on weight lol!) but because of the woman I have become, because of the qualities I now possess, because on this journey I was forced to look deep inside to get this shy ass girl on stage! I finally did find the answer and it was within me all along. There is nothing wrong with me!!! Did I really have to go to such lengths to work this out??!!!

So how do you love and accept the body that you have, the beautiful woman that you already are, while striving for a healthier, happier you? Isn’t that the million dollar question! And why I now devote my life to supporting my clients and sharing all my secrets of how I got this introverted, self loathing girl on stage and how I have finally became the woman I was born to be. When you focus on nurturing, caring and loving your body, when you start making yourself a priority in a world that is constantly demanding you to give up your authenticity, truly magical things start happening in your life. No woman should miss out on this amazing feeling of empowerment that I stumbled across while chasing an illusion. And no one should have to go to the extremes I did to learn this lesson!

The perfect female form is a modern day illusion created by mass media. And we have all been sucked in and brain washed. In our so called democratic society we overlook the fact that the advertising and media industry is a business, big business. Once upon a time, when we were a tad more modest and conservative, we were only exposed to images from the media through black and white newspapers. With the advent of magazines, TV, the internet, smart phones etc. and our seemingly endless need to reveal more and more human nakedness we are bombarded everywhere we turn by these images. We have become a society of voyeurs, reality TV shows have become the norm and you only have to look at the phenomenal success of Miley Cyrus, who has exploited the media superbly; love her or hate her, everyone is watching her. Everywhere we turn, including on screens in nearly every gym (?!), we see an image of a female form that is whose version of perfect?

A beautiful woman is caring, kind, compassionate, grateful, self assured, dignified, loyal, sensitive, humble, supportive, respectful, elegant, passionate, vibrant, honest, authentic, strong; she makes others feel good simply by her presence, she inspires and she ads value., she is an amazing friend, mother, daughter and sister. And the last time I checked, none of these qualities have anything to do with your weight!