We’ve all heard about the self-love and care concept, how important it is to love ourselves, be kind to ourselves, take time for me, yada yada yada. But do you really practice it? I thought I had the self-love and care thing down, until one day…
I was in yoga class in a downward dog position (picture a person facing the floor with both hands and feet on the mat with their butt up in the air). I was caring for both my body and soul. My mind on the other hand had a running commentary about the state of my hip flexibility. It said things like “that left hip is still tighter than the right”, followed by “you said you would take 2 minutes a day to stretch them”, on to “can’t you even spend 120 seconds a day to stretch”, then came “I bet the woman next to you practices her stretches daily”, further hounding myself with “you are a yoga fraud and should probably get up and leave class now”. Sound familiar?
And that’s when it hit me. I’ve got the self-care thing going on but I definitely do not have self-love coming my way.
So what’s the difference?
Self-care is about all the things you do to take care of yourself that show you appreciate you. For both me and many of my clients this includes feeding our bodies healthy food as fuel, going for walks in nature, going to bed early to get sleep, having lunch with friends, taking time alone to read or meditate, buying ourselves flowers, getting a massage. If it feeds your soul and fills you up, no matter what it is, it’s self-care.
Self-love on the other hand is all about what we say about ourselves to ourselves in our minds. It is deeply appreciating who you are as an individual, all of your unique qualities. Loving and accepting your perfect imperfections.
Some examples of self-love include saying things like I’m awesome, I rock (my personal favorite), all is well in the world with me, and I am enough in every moment.
It could even be on the lighter side like telling yourself I have beautiful toenails and fingernails(don't dismiss it), I look delicious in the color blue, and my butt looks damn good in these jeans (yep you know you wanna say it).
And why is self-love so important to practice?
1. It feels good. Raise your hand if you like to feel good. Okay, no brainer here.
When you whisper sweet nothings into your own ear you are giving you an endorphin hit each time. Think about how nice it is when someone else tells you something great about you. You have the ability to do it 24/7 in your own mind. Try it for a week and notice the feel-good that you experience.
2. The universe can only be as good to you as you are to yourself.
Scientists have already proven that human beings, trees, buildings, cars, planets, the sun, everything is just a form of energy. This includes our thoughts and feelings. All energy emits a frequency or vibration. Like attracts like. Therefore if the thoughts you are thinking about yourself are along the lines of not being good enough and not worthy of love, then that is the energy you are flowing (vibrating) out. The universe has no choice but to flow that same energy in the form of people and experiences back to you to prove you right. Likewise if you are sending thoughts to yourself from yourself about how nice and kind you are, then that same positive energy will flow back to you from the universe in kind. If you want positive to follow to you from the outside, flow it to yourself from the inside.
3. When you are filled up by you (and I know you know exactly what you need to hear from you to feel good) you have so much more to give and offer others.
Start to notice what you are saying to yourself in your mind. If what you are about to say to yourself in your head is something you would never tell someone you love, then it's time to change it up. When your own cup is full you are a more loving partner, a more patient parent, a more giving coworker, a more kind friend, the list goes on.
It’s such a simple concept self-love. It's so easy to say a few nice words to yourself about yourself every day and it only takes a few seconds.
What are you waiting for? You and the whole world will benefit.
Bring on the self-love fest!!!
Thank you for spending some of your time with me today. I really do appreciate it and hope you found it helpful.
As always, take from here what works for you, share with your friends if you think they might benefit, and the rest, you can leave behind.
P.S. What do you say to yourself to practice self-love? We could all benefit from learning something new. Leave a comment below or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org