Loving Yourself ~
I can't express enough how necessary it is to learn the practice of loving yourself.
There was a time in my life that I rolled my eyes when I heard someone say, ‘self-love.’ It was the quickest way to tune me out. I thought it was corny and a bit silly. I didn’t believe in the power of loving yourself. So, if you’re feeling that way, I get it. I’ve been there! Don't click out of this blog just yet.
For those of you who do believe in the power of self-love and are already practicing loving yourself, you might be able to do more. In fact, I'm sure you could be doing more. I really don’t believe it’s possible that we can give ourselves enough love. I don’t think it’s possible because love is infinite. No matter how much you already love yourself today, it’s always possible to go deeper tomorrow.
Practicing self-love is one of those things in life that we all have the power within us to do. It doesn't have to cost any money (Love that!), and it truly is the gift you give yourself that keeps on giving. (Love that even more!!) When you love yourself your heart opens allowing you to love others more and allowing you to receive more love from others.
I truly believe that if everyone loved themselves there would no longer be judgments or criticisms. There would be no need to make others wrong or look bad. We could end hate, thereby ending all that stems from hate; abuse, neglect, and racial injustices to list a few. Love equals kindness, compassion and empathy. From love comes more love.
I’ve often said that if we want to live in a kinder world, we need to heal ourselves. And part of healing ourselves, means loving ourselves.
I remember the first time I ever looked at myself in the bathroom mirror and said the words, 'I love you,' to my reflection. It was an awkward moment that felt silly. It also felt inauthentic. I was saying words that I didn't truly believe at the time. And in the same moment, how could I not love myself? Aren't we all just supposed to naturally be able to feel love for ourselves?
Growing up I was taught how to love and care for others, but not myself. The concept of looking at my reflection in the mirror, staring deeply into my own eyes, then feeling and expressing love for myself, was something I had to learn. Learning to love myself has been a journey and in fact, it’s been a journey that I've really enjoyed. I can now say that I love loving myself. For more on my self-love journey, click here.
There’s a wonderful ripple effect that happens when you love yourself. When you love yourself, you will naturally care for yourself from the extension of that love. I can almost guarantee that the area(s) of your life that you’re struggling with right now would shift and the struggle would end if you either began the practice of loving yourself OR you increased an already existing self-love practice.
This is because when you’re not in love with yourself, you don’t show up for yourself in the same way. Eating healthier, for example, is struggle for a lot of people. Without a deep love for yourself and the body the carries you through life, the healthier eating habits that you want to create will often feel like a chore. When you aren’t eating healthy from an extension of the love you feel for yourself, you’ll often do it because you feel you should. Or perhaps you have to because your doctor has told you to. When something is a should or a have to, it doesn't usually come naturally or easily.
However, when you love yourself, you naturally want to eat healthier.
Another example is setting boundaries. Many people, especially women, struggle with saying no and setting boundaries. And guess what? It’s not difficult when you’re in love with yourself. When you love yourself, you'll easily set boundaries that honor you and say no to the things that don’t serve you. And because you’re doing it from the overflowing love that you feel for yourself, the frustration that can come from others, won’t bother you. Their frustrations or upset will slide off of you.
So, here’s a question....
Are you able to look in the mirror right now, deep into the reflection of your eyes, and say I love you to your reflection? And do it with ease? Without it feeling icky or weird.
If you can’t, let this be your goal. Being able to look at your reflection, past everything that’s, 'wrong with you,' not really, however we always perceive things to be wrong with us. Like the wrinkles, or the 20lbs you put on this past year. Perhaps the thing that you haven’t yet accomplished, or the things that you’ve done that you aren’t proud of. Whatever they are, look past them. Look deeply into your eyes, the windows of your soul, expressing and feeling love for yourself.
If you can do that, fantastic. Keep doing it, keep blossoming and evolving in your self-love. If you can’t do this, make it your goal to get to this place.
You achieve this goal by practicing. The only way to be able to do something that you can't yet do, is to do it. Repeatedly. Be willing to be uncomfortable for a while until the discomfort subsides. Trust that you will move past this feeling. There's also many other small practices you can be doing throughout the day to help grow your self-love.
Here’s a few suggestions to help get you started:
Positive Self Talk ~
How you talk to yourself is very important. It influences what you think. What you think helps determine your actions and behaviors. You want to pay close attention to your self-talk. When you notice that you’re speaking negatively to yourself, don't judge it, just notice it and turn it around into a positive statement.
Say I love you Before Bed ~
Get in the habit of saying Good night, (your name), I love you before you go to sleep each night. You may say this to others in your home, yet do you ever say it to yourself? It's a beautiful, loving way to end the day.
Surround Yourself With Things You Love ~
When you’re in a space that you love, you feel better. Go through your home and declutter the things you don’t truly love. If something doesn’t make you smile or bring you joy, don’t hold onto it. Further, do you love the color palette in each room of your home? If not, it might be time to get out some paint and change it. For more on the importance of decluttering and tips to help you do it, click here.
Wear Clothes That Make You Feel Good ~
Just as you want to surround yourself with things you love, make sure you’re dressing every day in clothes you love. Get rid of the clothes that make you feel slumpy. Get rid of the clothes hanging in the back of your closet that no longer fit. When you're wearing clothes you love and feel good in, you'll naturally feel better about yourself. When you feel better about yourself, loving yourself will be easier.
Light touch ~
Light touch helps to release the hormone oxytocin, which is also known as the love hormone or the cuddle hormone. The release of oxytocin helps calm the nervous system and promote feelings of love and kindness. Becoming more mindful when washing your hands or your hair, or putting on lotion, helps you feel the sensation of touch. These are all examples of things we usually do very quickly and without much thought. However, slowing down these moments of light touch and becoming conscious while doing them, makes you notice how good it feels. It also helps you to connect more with your body. The more connected you feel to your body, the easier it is to love it.
These are just a few of the many ways you can help create (or enhance) your self-love journey. And remember, it’s a journey. It doesn’t happen overnight and even the (seemingly) smallest practices matter. Doing one small thing is better than doing no-thing.
What did you learn from this article? Leave a comment and let me know. I'd love to hear from you!
If you've enjoyed this blog, I'd greatly appreciate you sharing it so that others can benefit from reading it as well. Thank you.
Looking for more tips to help you live well? Check out Your Live Well Journey - The Podcast, every episode offers ways to help you improve your self-care.
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