I’m talking about self love Much. It’s been my main focus for the past decade and it’s something I’m incredibly excited about. I’ve noticed that there are many different topics that I talk about a lot and have begun to explore them as a basis for self-love.
There is not a single thing that makes us love ourselves (at least there was nothing for me – your trip might be different). I would also like to take a moment to say that some of us start in different places. Mental illness alters the journey of self-love. Physical illnesses and disabilities alter the journey of self-love. Child abuse and trauma change the journey. Lack of resources, support, and community alters the journey.
Self-love does not happen in a vacuum. it’s not point A to point b. It is a personal journey. I can’t tell you how to love yourself. No random person can be on the Internet. I can give you the tools I use. I can point you in the right direction (we’re all trying to get to the same right place?) but I don’t have the magic formula.
Let’s talk about the foundations of self-love.
Self-talk, or your inner voiceIt’s what I focus on first. Think of your inner voice as an intercom. When you make a mistake – what’s the first thing you hear in your head? Are you on the receiving end of a lot of positive/reassuring/sympathetic feedback or does this sound bother you?
One of the most transformative things you can do is change the way you talk to yourself. Think about what it would be like to live in an uncritical or offensive voice. Imagine that the voice is comforting and compassionate, giving you grace when you make mistakes, and building you up when you’re feeling down.
This is magic, which is an important basis for self-love.
Self-discovery aka what you love.
In my early twenties, it was my character – a blank canvas. There were some things that were I But the music I loved, my hobbies, and most of my interests – were things that weren’t mine. I tried to please others and that meant reflecting on them the things they liked.
I thought being “cute” was a great personality trait.
Self-discovery means learning what you like and don’t like. (Then don’t budge on these things just to keep the people in your life happy.)
It also means developing goals, hobbies, and interests that satisfy you. When I started loving myself I tried everything I’ve always wanted to do. I got tattoos, listened to all kinds of music, spent hours in the garden writing, and went to a yoga class. I started reading different kinds of books and trying new foods. It was so much fun and will always be one of my favorite parts of my trip.
Manage your mental health.
Not everyone suffers from mental illness but we all have mental health. Another foundation of self-love has to do with mental health. When it comes to mental health – some people just need to focus on managing their stress and fatigue. But for many of us, mental health is more complex.
If I hadn’t learned how to manage anxiety and depression, I don’t think my self-love journey would have gone anywhere. My mind was very noisy. Anxiety was constantly making me question everything, and everyone and depression had me rattled by thoughts of how useless I was. I had to fight that fight before I could do anything else.
I will say that all the things I did in my pursuit of self-love certainly helped alleviate some of the severity of my anxiety and depression.
Self-acceptance is the key.
You don’t have to be perfect to love yourself. It’s okay that you are flawed and incomplete. A decade ago, I felt there were many reasons why I didn’t like myself. I was single, didn’t have a “good” job, and wasn’t happy with my body.
“I’ll love myself when I’m skinny.”
“I will love myself when I find the love of my life.”
There was always a goal goal that I was convinced would magically make me love myself. I didn’t understand that loving myself would be an intentional act that I would have to work on every day.
Boundaries are important.
Cultivating healthy communication and boundaries in your relationships is another thing that strongly affects your ability to love yourself. If our relationships are abusive and tear us apart, it is hard to find love within ourselves. It’s also important to have support systems and safe spaces because it allows us to reflect these things on ourselves.
Your environment is important. This is where the limits come in. Put it on with anyone who tears you apart and makes you feel bad about yourself. (Yes, even if it was well-intentioned)
I also learned how to set limits with my own energy, time, and resources. I was giving and giving and giving, because I thought that would make people like me. I found myself exhausted, exhausted, and exploited. I had to set healthy boundaries within myself, too.
And finally, self-care.
Self-care is the act of showing love to ourselves. You know how when your favorite person rubs your back, makes you coffee, brings you flowers, or gives you a big hug when you’re having a bad day? These things make you feel loved.
Self-care is how we feel loved by ourselves. It is any act that makes you feel loved or takes care of your needs. It’s not always fun things, and sometimes it’s the difficult things that make us feel better in the long run. Self-care is bubble baths and setting boundaries. It’s the face masks and the abandonment of toxic relationships. Sometimes snuggling up with a blanket is necessary to take a break, and it also forces yourself to do something you’ve been putting off about. It is a series of choices that make your life better.