Strive To Thrive
Few people can light up a room like Jenni Eyles. From her radiant smile to her vivacious outfits, she is the kind of person who instantly makes you feel good about life. Based in Adelaide, Jenni is a mother of two, a blogger, and the founder of her own clothing label empowering women to achieve body confidence through their style.
The journey of a lifetime
Jenni’s journey to this point in life has been profoundly influenced by her experience with breast cancer, which she describes as ‘the gift’ that led her towards a path of higher self-awareness. Although cancer has been the greatest hardship she has ever faced, it was the catalyst that empowered her to embrace the life lessons she needed to learn.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer over five years ago, Jenni reflects on the reality of living with an illness that took hold of not just her physical body, but her mental and emotional wellbeing. Cancer challenged every aspect of her life, from her relationships with family and friends, to her confidence in social situations, to her perception of her own identity. She also looks back on feelings of ‘Mother guilt’ in regard to the pain her children experienced watching her endure chemotherapy.
‘During treatment I felt challenged on many levels but mostly around letting in love, trust in myself and my body, and my mortality. Then there was looking and feeling so sick in social situations and how that affected my self confidence. Post treatment it has been a rollercoaster, at times I embraced the 'cancer girl' tag and other times I shunned it,’ she says.
A path to self-awareness
Jenni has since fought, and beaten breast cancer. She is now living her most vibrant and authentic life. Forging a whole new career with her outfit blogging, her empowering social media presence, and her fashion label, she reflects that none of her recent endeavours would have been realised if it weren’t for her cancer journey. The illness motivated her to ‘unapologetically embrace life,’ offering the wakeup call she needed to try new things, to be confident in her own skin, and to reconnect with herself on a physical, emotional and spiritual level.
‘Before cancer I was like most people, stuck in the grind of daily life. Raising kids, working hard and keeping up appearances! I really had no sense of self or self awareness on a deeper level, I just 'was'. Cancer stripped me back and opened my eyes to what is important. It was the start of a long journey to a higher self awareness which allows me to be more genuinely plugged into my life,’ she shares.
Doing the ‘inner work’
Jenni knows better than anyone that we all have those days when we would rather just curl up in bed, and not have to face reality. Constantly drawing on her cancer experience as an opportunity for deep self-reflection, she reminds us that the more time we spend doing the ‘inner work’, the more resilient we become in the face of hardship.
What are some of Jenni’s tips for maintaining an optimistic outlook on life, despite the hardships she has faced?
- Meditation and journaling - taking a moment to reflect on things you are grateful for each day.
- Surround yourself with kind and caring people (especially online).
- Enjoy regular time out in nature to clear your head.
- Don't focus on the past or the future, live in the present moment.
Choosing to thrive
While many breast cancer survivors and their families are understandably overcome by a mindset of fear and anger for many years post-treatment, Jenni exemplifies the idea that it is within our power to choose the kind of journey we wish to experience based on a positive and balanced outlook.
‘When you live authentically you feel aligned as opposed to out of balance. I think you need to start with doing some inner work, clearing away what clutters your mind and holds your heart back. Ask yourself what your best life would really look like if you could choose (and yes, we all can choose) and then make that happen.’
She offers the following advice for anyone wishing to cultivate an authentic life in today’s society:
- Changing jobs and friendships if needed
- Unfollow social media accounts that agitate you
- Read more
- Challenge yourself from time to time