Self-Love: Part 1
Updated: Apr 19, 2020
My friends, it has been a while since my first post. I thank you for your patience.
The last two months have been quite chaotic. "Chaotic" seems to be my new normal which I don't mind.
An overarching theme during the last two months has been the concept of "self-love".
I realized that I understood the concept, knew it was something I wanted and needed but didn't know how to actually love myself. I wasn't exactly sure what that looked like or where to even start. I still don't have the perfect formula but I will share what I know and what I have discovered so far.
In my mind it seemed like "self-love" was just seeing a bunch of rainbows and butterflies whenever you thought about yourself or your life or some sh*t. That was so opposite of what I thought about myself so I thought that achieving "self-love" was quite far away. Truth is, it will always be a process because we are always growing.
A little background about me: If you're familiar with the Enneagram at all, I'm a type 2 which means I literally thrive by helping those around me. Also known as the mom of the friend group. I naturally put myself aside to help those around me not realizing that if I do not take care of myself first, I cannot take care of others! This is just my current reasoning as to why I was not familiar with the concept of self-love. This tidbit allows me to explain the following points better.
Finding #1: Pay attention to the vessel that allows you to live your life every day.
For me, a big part of starting the journey of loving myself was acknowledging and thanking the very thing that works nonstop for me every day. Tuning into my body and soul and allowing it to speak to me. "How do you even do that?"
I started by meditating for 5 minutes a day. I know, right? Seems like such a small and insignificant amount of time but meditating can be a little challenging if you're not far into your practice. The goal of meditation is to quiet the mind, and you never notice how many pointless thoughts are going through your head until you try to silence it. I call them squirrels. Sometimes I just have to let the squirrels run and I just take note of what my thoughts are about. This usually outlines what I've been giving my attention to, worries, fears, etc. Spending at least 5 minutes a day meditating allowed me to get just that much closer to connecting with my higher self and Source Energy, as well as allowing my mind to take a break for a sec.
We literally spend every second of our day thinking and it's actually kind of crazy when you *think* about it. Once you progress into your meditation practice, you naturally start to let the 5 minutes run longer and longer because you're getting better at quieting your mind. Tuning into your body and focusing on your breath allows your body to talk to you. It lets you know what it needs by you noticing in what part of your body you feel pain or relief. Could be that you need rest, or hydration, food, etc. Because we spend most, if not all, of our day telling our body what to do, I invite you to sit for 5 minutes and allow your body to tell you what it needs. This will send a message (to yourself and the universe) that you are thankful for all that your body allows you to do.
*Quick alternative suggestions for mindfulness:
- Guided meditation tracks on YouTube can help get started for those new to meditating
- If you find the squirrels are running around with no signs of stopping, journal some of those thoughts to free up some mental headspace
Finding #2: Talk to me nice.
Since I thrive by being of service to those around me, I started to discover that validation and affirmation from those around me was something I valued A LOT. Wanting to feel appreciated by those around me and feeling a little TOO down if I felt I wasn't. (This whole concept has to do with your inner child and Law of Attraction which I will cover in another post). I started to ask myself why I value external validation so much and what is keeping me from receiving internal validation. Answer: Internal validation requires ME to validate MYSELF which was something I was surely not used to doing. Simply put: If others talked to you the way you talk to yourself, would you be okay with it? This manifests itself mostly through the small phrases we say when we're casually speaking such as "I'm an idiot", "I'm ugly" (even if it's in a jokingly manner), "I suck", "I'm no good at...", "I can't...". If you start to pay attention, you notice how we say these things without giving it second thought. We're so used to it, not knowing that after a while we truly start to believe and identify with those things even though they aren't true.
Starting to re-wire my brain with affirmations is something I'm still struggling with but I'm proud of myself because I've been doing better. You don't have to do the whole 'stand in front of the mirror and say I love you' thing because it's actually quite awkward and uncomfortable if you're not used to it, but definitely something to work up to.
I invite you to figure out what it is you crave to hear from others the most, and repeat those phrases in your head whenever you're driving, waiting in line somewhere and pretending to be on your phone, walking to the fridge out of habit, you get the point. IT'S GOING TO FEEL WERID AT FIRST. This is normal and do not let it discourage you. New things are usually uncomfortable at first. Write these phrases in your notes on your phone, on sticky notes to place around the house and in the car, in your journal, wherever. Make the phrase(s) something that actually strikes a nerve, otherwise it won't bring about the positive change. Another 'You Are A Badass' reference: Jen says, "at the beginning it may feel like you're lying to yourself, but the truth is, you're living the lie, so the affirmations get you back to truth."
Here are some examples of phrases to use but of course, you know what will work best for you:
- I am worthy of appreciation (one of mine)
- I am smart, bright, and beautiful (or handsome)
- I am deserving of happiness
- I believe in myself and am capable of anything
Another invitation: attempt to replace your negative "knee-jerk reaction" thoughts with affirming phrases when you see someone with something you've been wanting but haven't gotten yet, or when you accidentally spill coffee on yourself in the morning, or when you just bumped into the corner of the counter for the 3rd time, etc.
Talk to yourself nice!
Finding #3 (and last one for now): You don't have to do that thing you don't want to do.
Do you ever find yourself saying, "omg I LOVE concerts, I haven't been to one in so long" or whatever thing it is you love, and you haven't done it in a long time? Go do whatever that is. If you're aware of the people, activities, and places that give you butterflies every time, why would you not indulge yourself with those things? "I don't have enough time" isn't a valid excuse either. We're all incredibly busy these days but it's the people who make it a point to do things that make them happy that are... ya know... happy. Prioritizing yourself subconsciously sends a message to you (and by default, those around you) that you're important enough. It doesn't have to be anything crazy. Spend one afternoon binge watching a new show, or going out to dinner with a friend, or riding a bike in the city. Whatever floats your happy boat. You are capable of creating the life you want to live, NOW.
Conversely, say no to things you don't want to do. I make it a point to say this because my type 2 life quite literally changed when I started to say no. I, for some reason, thought that the world would fall apart or none of my friends would ever talk to me again if I said I don't want to do something. If you're anything like me, my body would literally let me know when I don't want to do something. I'd get anxious when the time came closer, or I'd start to feel sick, headaches, whatever the case (this definitely ties to point #1). I was the type to bite off more than I could chew (still do sometimes). I'd say yes to anyone who needed my help knowing damn well I didn't have time or energy. Or accepting plans when I had planned to stay in and have a night for myself. It's ok to say no. The world will not end. I invite you to communicate with your friends or loved ones when you feel your energy will be left depleted by whatever it is you're about to do. They will more than likely understand and support your decision.
Honestly, the journey of self-love is different for everyone and not easy. There are parts that will just suck along the way, but it is SO worth it. YOU are worth it. It also takes a lot of time and patience.
Instead of acting upon our natural instincts of paying attention to what is going on around us and how external things affect us, we are forced to look within. This is the stuff that no one can do for you. The stuff that people spend their whole lives running away from because they're so terrified of what they might discover (which is actually their greatness). However, with the lows also come the highs. The relief you start to feel when you are paying attention to your mind, body and soul is something no one will ever be able to take away from you. The joyful and grateful times will be incredible.
I invite you to love yourself through the lows just as much as the highs because all parts of you deserve it. Start to observe how you speak to yourself, and if you don't like it, I invite you to change it. Know that you are not walking this journey alone. Let me know what findings you've had or how it's going, I'd love to hear about it!
There is a universe inside of you.
You are Love and Light.
Thank you for walking with me this far.
P.S. Here is a website with a plethora of affirmations you can look at to see which resonates the most if you need ideas, or just google "self-love affirmations"!