In a season that has evolved to celebrate romantic love more than anything else, we want to bring the focus back to self-love. As a society, we have reached epidemic levels of personal neglect. We chronically prioritize anything and everything before ourselves and all in the name of love.
Our assumptions are mislead….if we kill ourselves for our job we will be rewarded; if we give our families all of our extra energy they will have everything they need; we commit every minute of our free time to friends, family, work or volunteering based on the idea that this is the ultimate self-sacrifice and helping others should always come before helping ourselves….
If this resonates with any of you then you will undoubtedly know that the reality is significantly messier than this. As your needs are continually put on the back burner your own health (mental, emotional, physically) begins to deteriorate. And for many, the deterioration of their health leads to the slow deterioration of their life or at least a life constantly filled with stress, guilt and disappointment in yourself.
But what if, rather than showing love to others through self-neglect, we began to show our love for others through self-love? Self-love in the name of love. Now that’s a powerful thought.
Loving others can and should begin with loving YOURSELF. The more you care for yourself the more love you have to give! When you are functioning at full capacity your ability to connect, care, listen, encourage and support those around you increases exponentially. Loving yourself IS part of loving others.
So where does your self-love journey begin? With a deep understanding of who you are and what you need to thrive. Each of us has different needs physically, mentally and emotionally. Start by asking yourself, “What does my body need to be happy and healthy? What does my spirit need to be happy and healthy?”
Every single one of us has a unique body with specific needs. Is your body craving more love and attention? Listening to your body may be as simple as giving it more exercise, adding a few supplements, cutting back on sweets. It may involve standing up for yourself and finally cutting out foods that have been bothering you for years despite the negative push back from the people around you; caring for your gut health, organ health (and yes, that includes your skin!), etc…
When you take a moment to listen and give your body the attention it has been craving it is truly amazing where that path of self-care can lead. Many will shake their heads, accuse you of being over-dramatic or over-sensitive. But at the end of the day no one knows your body like you do and you do not need anyone’s approval to give it what it needs.
Be patient with yourself, nothing in nature blooms all year.
I think we can all agree this is the area we tend to neglect the most. Maybe you eat healthy and even exercise regularly, but what are you doing for your emotional health? What do YOU specifically need to feel emotionally vibrant and charged? Maybe it is 30 minutes of quiet with yourself each day; maybe it is quality time with friends or family; meditation; giving back to others; a 20 minute walk out in nature….
Carving out time for activities that fulfill us emotionally can be more difficult than getting ourselves to the gym and often times are the most difficult activities for others to accept. Again, many will not understand or respect the importance of your daily rituals, but their lack of approval and support should not stand in the way of your goals to love yourself more fully!
Work towards creating regular self-love rituals that feed every aspect of your being: mind, body and spirit. As your rituals become habits watch the inner changes that begin to take place. For many of us, the love we pour out to others far outweighs the love we give ourselves but now it is time for balance.
Love yourself AS MUCH AS you love others. Listen to yourself, have patience with yourself and respect yourself enough to protect who you are and what you need. You create and define your own value. Right now in this moment tell yourself how valuable you are, how deserving you are. Now commit to loving the spirit inside you and the body surrounding you with everything you have.