To my daughter and the women I love ~
The key to learning to self-love is that you must first fully understand and make a decision that your “self-love” is not dependent on the approval of others!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted on this blog, a blog I created to share my journey and to hopefully share pointers, advice, and/or a simple reminder that you are not alone. That as women, we face and overcome so many challenges and barriers, but if we have community, a platform to share, love and the support of each other and others who believe in our growth and evolution – then we can truly grow!
Self-love! I see the words everywhere. I hear the words spoken by so many, but do we really know and understand what it means?
I’m convinced that while there’s a recurring theme – that one thing we can all agree on when it comes to what self-love means; the fact is that self-love, much like success and relationships, is really defined by you!
What does it mean? I can’t speak for others but to me, it’s really learning how to put myself first in a world that has defined our roles as women. We have so many ever-changing titles/roles and to choose one over the other can sometimes feel impossible, let alone overwhelming! We are mothers, wives, partners, sisters, daughters, employees, employers, doctors to our families, caregivers, mentors, therapists for our family and friends, friends, best friends, hosts, lovers, givers, doers, etc etc! Shhheeezz….that’s a lot!
If I were to ask you or if you asked yourself “who am I?” chances are you would list these titles/roles… but rarely do we answer “I am a woman – strong, empowered, smart, beautiful, giving, balanced, driven…
Self-love to me is being able to say all these things before I say that I am a mother, daughter, sister, aunt, etc etc… It means to me that I hold these self-attributes, strengths, actions more important so that I can successfully be all those titles/roles that the world has clearly defined for me/us without feeling guilty or ashamed!
Self-love takes time, a long time! I’ve been blogging and writing for years and just when I think I have it, I realize I’m not quite there yet! I’m constantly evolving as a woman: reading, meditating, reflecting, learning, expanding my intake of readings and Ted Talks that reaffirms my feelings and adds to my growth and writing.
Self-love is not easy! We are taught to stand strong, to put others before ourselves no matter what! We are warriors, we are doers and yet we often fail to see in ourselves and our fellow sisters how strong we truly are! Self-love to me also means that we have a community responsibility of building our sisters, our mothers, our daughters, our youth and our communities! To work hand-in-hand in sharing, nurturing and building all that is a woman!
Self-love is work in progress… It has to start with you and has to be about you before it can be about others, and once you understand that, then only then can you begin to help build others…
For so long, I was guilt ridden! Felt horrible at the idea of putting myself first! How could I do this? What will others think or say? I bet you know this all to well… It’s hard as hell!
I recently read that “Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love is dynamic; it grows by actions that mature us. When we act in ways that expand self-love in us, we begin to accept much better our weaknesses as well as our strengths, have less need to explain away our short-comings, have compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning, are more centered in our life purpose and values, and expect living fulfillment through our own efforts.”
The author shared and I now share with you, her Seven-Step Prescription for Self-Love:
Become mindful. People who have more self-love tend to know what they think, feel and want. They are mindful of who they are and act on this knowledge, rather than on what others want for them.
Act on what you need rather than what you want. You love yourself when you can turn away from something that feels good and exciting to what you need to stay strong, centered, and moving forward in your life, instead. By staying focused on what you need, you turn away from automatic behavior patterns that get you into trouble, keep you stuck in the past, and lessen self-love.
Practice good self-care. You will love yourself more, when you take better care of your basic needs. People high in self-love nourish themselves daily through healthy activities, like sound nutrition, exercise, proper sleep, intimacy and healthy social interactions.
Set boundaries. You’ll love yourself more when you set limits or say no to work, love, or activities that deplete or harm you physically, emotionally and spiritually, or express poorly who you are.
Protect yourself. Bring the right people into your life. I love the term frenemies that I learned from my younger clients. It describes so well the type of “friends” who take pleasure in your pain and loss rather than in your happiness and success. My suggestion to you here: Get rid of them! There isn’t enough time in your life to waste on people who want to take away the shine on your face that says, “I genuinely love myself and life”. You will love and respect yourself more.
Forgive yourself. We humans can be so hard on ourselves. The downside of taking responsiblity for our actions is punishing ourselves too much for mistakes in learning and growing. You have to accept your humanness (the fact that you are not perfect), before you can truly love yourself. Practice being less hard on yourself when you make a mistake. Remember, there are no failures, if you have learned and grown from your mistakes; there are only lessons learned.
Live intentionally. You will accept and love yourself more, whatever is happening in your life, when you live with purpose and design. Your purpose doesn’t have to be crystal clear to you. If your intention is to live a meaningful and healthy life, you will make decisions that support this intention, and feel good about yourself when you succeed in this purpose. You will love yourself more if you see yourself accomplishing what you set out to do. You need to establish your living intentions, to do this.
These 7 steps, together with a host of other resources are what has helped me to further understand what self-love is for me and in turn, learned to live it. I hope it can help you.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s work in progress but the key words here are “work” and “progress”! By simply working on one thing, you are well on your way to building strength and in turn – SELF-LOVE!
Peace & Love
Excerpt above is from this article if you care to read in its entirety!