“Self -love, self-respect, self-worth: There’s a reason they all start with ‘self.’ You can’t find them in anyone else.” - Unknown
How many times have you been told you gotta learn to love yourself first before you can love anyone or be loved by someone? How many times have you read about the importance of loving yourself followed by ‘how to’ tips to be more happy?
Now, how many time have you thought or felt, if I come across another person or article telling me to go love myself, I’m going to tell them to go F*$% themselves?
I definitely felt that at one point in my life. And at that time, I was in a very angry and resentful place. There were a series of events that happened in my mid-20s that led me to my emotional rock bottom, one of which was a long-term relationship break-up.
I was going to school in Boston and finishing up my internship. The night before I was moving back home to finally move in with my boyfriend at the time, he broke up with me.
Needless to say, I was shocked, devastated, and was like WTF?
I acted tough. When people asked me how I was, I would tell them that I was hurt, but I was fine. I told them it doesn’t matter, it’s just life. I’ll get over it. I felt silly to be sad over a break up.
In retrospect, I wasn’t fooling anybody, let alone myself. I never took the time to feel the real pain. It was easier to mask it. And the more I ignored my feelings, the more shitty I felt. I went through cycles of being sad then angry while trying to pretend everything is just peachy and fine.
In the end, it became more and more apparent that in order for me to truly be peachy, I needed to reflect within and explore what ‘self-love’ was.
So here’s what I’ve discovered what self- love means to me. Self- love is:
- when you give yourself the permission to be vulnerable.
- when you say yes to yourself even though other people may not approve of your choices. Self-love is being true to yourself, owning and accepting all of who you are - the good and the bad. You should be able to embody your authentic self, speaking and doing what feels right to you.
- acknowledging your feelings as it shows up and tuning into what makes you feel good or bad in your life.
- trying something new and taking a chance to do something you love, what you feel right at the time. Sure, sometimes things may not turn out the way you thought it would turn out or it may be a total fail. So what? The thing I’ve learned is that instead of beating yourself over what happened, why not pat yourself on the back for trying. Show self-compassion for yourself.
- forgiving yourself for whatever choices or actions you may have made, knowing you were only operating based on what you knew or the options you had at the time. Every experience is a lesson so you might as well learn from the past and use it going forward.
- allowing yourself to feel your emotions. Don’t rush it. Giving yourself space to grieve, to be mad or whatever emotions that come through.
- is not being afraid to seek and ask for help when needed.
- when you start taking ownership of your destiny. Don’t wait for someone to sweep you off your feet or complete you, learn that you can fulfill your own needs.
- being picky with who you share your heart, energy and time with. And never apologize for that.
- saying no. Know what your non-negotiables conditions are. Set your boundaries that protect and supports you both physically and emotionally.
From the inside out.
- making time to do things that brings you joy and rejuvenates you. Putting self care back on your to do list. This could be:
Taking responsibility for your well-being. Creating space and time to connect within and tap into your intuition. Choosing your thoughts and actions that is aligned with who you want to be and the life you want to create. i.e. Learning to say no. Letting go of stories that no longer serves you. Tuning into your body and its signals. Acknowledging your small and big win. Filtering your time to be spent with people and things that energizes and support you.
From the outside in
. This could be exercising, getting enough sleep, treating yourself to a massage, wearing clothes that makes you feel comfortable and confident. And yes, I’m going to say even occasionally going out and buying something to treat yourself. The thing with shopping is that it makes us feel temporarily good because it is just an instant rush to fill a void
So next time when you find yourself going shopping, ask yourself, are you going shopping because you actually need something or are you going shopping because you are feeling down and need a pick me up? If it’s the latter, what feeling are you seeking to feel the void? What other things can you do and think about instead that will keep you from over spending and creating a hole in your pocket? What would it feel like to know you can feel happy and loved without being dependent on buying yourself a new item?
And finally, self -love is practicing being good to yourself and honoring your ‘essence’. It’s a continuous process of self-discovery, since life will continue to challenge you and help you grow into the beautiful being and all that you are.
This is part 1 of 3 of the Live Mindfully - Love Yourself Series.
Part 2 The Ugly Truth When You Decide to Start Loving Yourself.
Part 3 4 Relationship Lessons to Overcome Breakup Blues
Photo by: Thomas R. Stegelmann