I hope you’re doing well and having a beautiful day. Today I want to share with you something that I’ve been working on in my personal life for quite some time now, and that is: SELF LOVE.
I know we hear these words a lot lately; perhaps whenever someone goes to buy something for themselves, or maybe when they decide to skip a day at the gym.. or treat themselves to cake as their dinner (been there!)
But what does self love really even mean??
Well; in short it could mean lots of different things! But for me personally; it means making choices that support my health and mental wellbeing. Not just an excuse to give into my cravings and/or splurge on something I might not need.
Before I dive into what self love really looks like for me; I’d like to share that growing up I was never really familiar with the idea of self love; or even self care. I was always taught to give to others unconditionally. (I grew up in a very strict Catholic family and my parents used to reference Mother Theresa a lot!) To my young mind; I equated love with giving, giving and more giving; until you physically couldn’t give anymore and your body collapsed. Anything other than that was selfish. I also grew up in a time where deflecting compliments was the norm; and to acknowledge something positive that someone said about you was just vain and self centred. I was taught to be humble and always played down my successes; God forbid you shine too brightly and make someone else feel uncomfortable.
Needless to say; I didn’t develop much self esteem in my adolescence. I was very insecure and always deflected my wins to either being part of a grander team effort; or crediting my hard work to God! Not that God (or Source/Spirit or however you refer to it) doesn’t deserve praise; but hey! I was the one up all night studying for that exam; not anyone else.
Fast forward and I’ve come such a long way from where I was growing up! But it didn’t happen overnight.
You see; I’d been so used to being downplayed and giving my all until I was empty; that I’d surrounded myself with people who expected that of me. Its not that they were bad people or soul sucking vampires or anything; but when you dont set any boundaries for yourself people just continue to expect more and more from you.
So, my first step was stepping away from those people. Yes; it was scary. Yes; it was painful. It involved breaking up with someone who I knew wasn’t good for me and stepping away from a friendship that had become very unhealthy. In fact; as years passed and I learned to love myself on a deeper level it even took me leaving the country to separate myself from my toxic family environment. I told myself that if I just removed myself from the situation then those people couldn’t hurt me anymore. But I was still stuck in the mindset that those people were the issue; and not me.
But I was wrong.
These people weren’t the issue. Did they have their own issues? Of course! But ultimately it was (and is!) my responsibility to set healthy boundaries that make me feel safe and secure. Boundaries that dont leave me feeling exhausted and depleted when I leave conversations or situations that are emotionally draining.
I cant tell you how long I’ve been working on cultivating self love into my life; because its been an ongoing process for almost a decade. And sometimes I fall back into patterns that dont serve me; and thats okay too. At those points I have to GENTLY remind myself that I AM WORTHY and come back to my own practices. Always showing myself compassion and kindness instead of putting myself down. Sometimes self love means making hard decisions that dont always feel great; but I keep my wellbeing at the forefront of my mind at those times.
Ultimately as much as I love helping others; I’m not doing anyone any good when I run myself dry.
Its like they say:
Self love isn’t selfish or vain; its simply self preservation.
So lets break it down; what exactly is self love?
Self love can mean turning off the TV at a reasonable hour (even when the show is just getting good!) because you know you need sleep. Self love can mean actually making yourself a nice meal instead of eating that cake for dinner (even when it’s staring at you begging to be eaten!) Self love can definitely mean stepping away from people who dont respect your boundaries; no matter wether they are a friend, coworker or even a family member! It could mean ACTUALLY getting up at 7am and going for that run like you promised yourself you would (thats also self integrity which is super important!) or jumping in the shower after a long day even if you feel like crawling straight into bed. And of course; self love can also mean treating yourself to that coffee or face mask after a long day.
What does self love look like to you? If you’re open to sharing, I’d love to hear in the comments what practices you incorporate into your daily life!
If you dont have any self love practices; or are looking for more self love this year- I got you babe! I’m currently working on a self paced, self love course called Journey Into Love. In this course I’ll provide you with tools and activities to get to know yourself on a deeper level and help you relearn how to love your amazing self!
Its not quite ready for the world just yet; but I promise you’ll be the first to know when it is!
Until then, I’m sending you so much love and well wishes lovely;
And as always thank you for letting m be a part of your journey,