In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I thought I would write about the one kind of love that seems to be forgotten this time of year: self-love. Yes, the term self-love feels a bit cliche. We love to talk about the importance of self-love in the personal development world…but do any of us really practice it fully? What does self-love really mean anyway? It’s easy to confuse self-love with self-care. I’m getting regular massages. I’m taking time to meditate. I’m going to bed earlier. These are all great ways you can love and care for yourself. But self-love goes deeper. Self-love isn’t something you can check off your to-do list. It’s a relationship between YOU and YOU. And like all good relationships, it takes time, understanding, forgiveness and nurturing. No one is perfect at self-love, but everyone can benefit from it! I couldn’t accurately put into words my perspective of self-love, so instead I found 5 other “self” words, that together encompass what I believe self-love is all about.
Ultimately, self-love will look different for everyone, in the same way that each relationship in your life is different. Because this is a relationship you’ll have for the rest of your life, it’s worth exploring and experimenting to see what feels right for you. Your version of self-love will continue to evolve as you do!
Self-love is about accepting yourself totally and completely. It’s about realizing that you are human, you will make mistakes and that’s OK. Self-acceptance is knowing that you are worth all that this life has to offer; establishing that honest truth that you are flawed but that you also have so much to offer and give in this world. When you truly love yourself, you realize the transformation you seek is not in changing yourself, but instead in peeling back the layers to reveal more of your true, authentic self.
Along with self-acceptance, we also need to give ourselves a big dose of self-compassion. We are so dang hard on ourselves, why? Because we set these high almost unrealistic expectations on ourselves that we would never expect anyone else to do… It’s the disconnect of self-love that has us feeling this way. You would never tell a friend that they’re a failure if they mess up, or that they deserved to be treated badly, or that they’ll never get what they want, right? So why would you say any of those things to yourself? Instead, choose to show yourself the same compassion you’d show a good friend.
There’s no better person to stand up for your needs than you! You can’t expect anyone else to read your mind, which means it’s up to you to express what you want and need. It’s up to you to define your boundaries and let someone know if they’ve crossed them. It’s up to you to support your goals & dreams and make them a priority. And it’s up to you to speak up, step up and be a leader in your own life!
We all love to be appreciated, right? When the people in your life aren’t appreciating your efforts, then it’s time to step in and appreciate yourself! If you do not believe in the things you do, then who will?? Be your own best advocate because you know your worth!! You’ve got so many gifts to share with others, most of which you probably take for granted. You won’t end up with an inflated ego — most of us rarely acknowledge all of our good characteristics and actions. So give yourself a pat on the back once in a while!
Finally, I had to include self-care because part of loving yourself, is caring for yourself — body, mind & spirit. This includes ensuring that your personal needs are met and doing what you can to feel supported on all levels. I’ve previously shared how you can make your health a priority this year through movement, fueling your body and nourishing your mind. We are complex beings, so yes it does take a lot of effort to make our lives run smoothly and show up as our best self!