When I first heard about self-love, I couldn't help but chuckle. It seemed like a punchline in a joke. After all, aren't we taught to prioritize others above ourselves from a young age?
Be selfless, not selfish... that's the narrative I grew up with, especially as a woman.
Reflecting on my upbringing, I realized that the women in my life, though remarkable in so many ways, rarely exemplified self-love. They epitomized giving, always putting others' needs before their own. And so, naturally, I followed suit.
We know that self-care goes right along with self-love. But why is it so hard?
Years ago when my first coach asked me what I do for self-care, I stumbled to think of some words to say to her and silently thought, "What the hell is she talking about?"
I thought a lot about that question, feeling perplexed and a bit resistant.
But then came the epiphany…by nurturing myself, I had more to offer others. This revelation filled me with more energy, vitality, and creativity.
Let's start with what self-love is NOT.
It isn't giving and giving until you drop.
It's not saying yes to everything because you want to be "nice."
It's not overthinking every step you make, every word, every decision.
It is not numbing out on Instagram or Netflix.
Knowing who you are and your unique strengths and skills is so important in believing in yourself. It's about choosing to say no to the things you hate or dislike that drain your energy.
Self-love is about taking care of your health. Exercising 4-5 times a week, eating the best food you can find, getting good sleep, reducing stress levels, and drinking water.
Self-love is all about honoring yourself.
It's about letting your hair go gray instead of coloring it and allowing yourself to feel beautiful naturally.
It's about meditating and taking the time to notice what's happening in the world around you and inside of you. Self-love is about just being.
It's about believing in what you've always wanted to do and be and finding a way to make your dreams a reality.
Even when you have to have hard conversations with people in your world, it's about staying true to yourself and your values. Self-love is about dealing with conflict and not letting someone shame you or minimize your truth. It's about being able to walk away when someone is disrespectful.
Self-love is not trying to fix other's problems. Instead, it's about being empathetic and allowing and validating the other person's grief or struggles.
Self-love is about rest...not overriding your body when it's saying "I need a break"
It's about dancing and feeling joy in being alive.
Self-love is all about giving yourself permission to go deep into your soul, to discover who you are now, asking yourself powerful questions. It's about making time to journal, have a cup of tea, and sit with yourself.
This is someone you can talk to on a bad or a good day. It's about sharing your pain, allowing someone you trust to hear you to be able to offer comfort and kindness.
Your best friend can help you remember your strengths and remind you that you'll get through the tough times.
It's unnecessary to struggle and try to do everything yourself. Being willing to ask someone for advice or to share the load is smart.
And it tells your brain you don't have to be a superwoman or superman.
Self-love is about hiring a coach or a therapist to help you when you need clarity and guidance.
I don't believe we were ever meant to do life alone. It's silliness to think we can figure everything out on our own.
Therapy and coaching is a gift you give yourself.
It's about being kind to yourself and saying the same things you would say to your best friend, without judgment or being critical but with compassion for yourself.
Self-love is a profound journey of self-discovery, acceptance, and empowerment.
It's about recognizing our worthiness and embracing all facets of our being with boundless compassion and love. Let's embark on this transformative journey together, honoring ourselves and each other every step of the way.
Start today by identifying the ways that you love yourself. Take your journal out and list all the ways you can show yourself some love. Try on some new things as listed above.
You'll feel like you're unstoppable when you love yourself.
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