How many of us think self-love is selfish? It’s a common misconception, and you’re not alone. There are two ways to love yourself, one being in a toxic, narcissistic way where you don’t have any regard or empathy for others, which disconnects you from others and is not recommended. The second is a nurturing, protective way of loving yourself that genuinely connects you with others.
While I was navigating a life crisis, my divorce, I suddenly found myself under the microscope. I realized it was time to accept my imperfections, define my needs in a timely manner and reintroduce myself, to myself. It’s during times of rumbling and wrestling with our story that turns on the bravery switch inside ourselves. Instead of running and hiding, it took courage to stay, understand and learn from it, and since I was under the microscope, I had to examine myself. To know yourself you need to spend time with yourself on the good and bad days. Own it. All of it.
That’s when the game changed for me.
All these tasks were not easy to do but needed to be done to be able to live my best life.
The best way I could achieve this was to start loving myself unconditionally in a caring, and kind way that protected me. I had to realize I was enough and not worry about what other people thought. To find my own happiness and stop pleasing others.
The first step was to stop beating myself up and start talking to my younger self, the child inside that was hurting and scared. I used loving words instead of critical ones. Self-compassion is a form of self-love because as soon as you start talking to yourself like you would with a good friend, and realize we are all human and make mistakes, then you can begin to relax, and get to know yourself for who you are, your values, and love yourself for it.
The second step was to define a need from a want. For example, we all need food, water, clothing, and shelter. These are requirements to live day to day. A want is something that is extra, desired, not necessary but nice. That list is extremely long for all of us. When looking at our needs from a self-love perspective, what do you need to love yourself? Boundaries are a good place to start, followed by self-compassion, and good self-care. Owning your story instead of blaming others is also essential.
People treat us based on how they see us treating ourselves. So if we don’t set boundaries with ourselves, then other people will think it’s ok to walk all over us. The more you love yourself, the less nonsense you are going to tolerate. This is also a form of self-respect which is another upcoming blog in this series.
It’s common to love many things outside ourselves like different foods, movies, cars, homes, careers, and more, but as soon as you hold up a mirror, what do you feel? Disgust, fear, shame, guilt? Or do you feel proud, grateful, accepting and happy? Are you at the top of your love list, somewhere in the middle or didn’t realize you even had a spot on this list?
What do you practice? Fear or self-love? Do you ask, “What will people think?” or say “I am enough.”
What would it take for you to love yourself more? Try to think of 3 ways you can practice more self-love in your own life.
Ways I found self-love:
*Rebuilding relationships workshop with Diane Valiquette. This is one of the best workshops I’ve ever taken where she says the most rewarding and powerful relationship you will ever have is the one with yourself. It also sets the tone for all your future relationships with others. That is the truth!
*Writing, reading books, exercising, eating well, listening to music, mindfulness, accepting my imperfections, self-forgiveness, spending quality time with friends and family and asking for help.
I’ve learned it’s best to ask for what you need instead of hoping someone will notice. You are in charge of your own life and if you don’t speak up, then nobody will know what you’re thinking and you are to blame for not saying anything. Plain and simple. By asking for what you need means you love yourself enough to fill those needs. If you are still not getting your needs met, after trying everything, that’s when you can walk away and say “This doesn’t work for me anymore.” This in itself is an act of self-love. Of course, it’s not easy because relationships aren’t easy, but your peace and happiness are worth it, therefore, take the time to practice self-love. The more you love yourself, the less fear you will feel.
Since this re-introduction to myself, I am no longer the same person I was before, which is a good thing. I am stronger and more courageous than ever, aware of my needs, and aware of what I can and will not tolerate in my life. Self-love is an ongoing process and I am committed to it each and every day because it’s at the top of my list.
What about you? ❤
**Note to self: “Close your eyes, fall in love, stay there” ~ Rumi
Much Love and Self-Love ❤
***I hope you are enjoying the “Project-Self” blog series so far. Stay tuned for more…
***All my gratitude to everyone who bought, borrowed, read, reviewed, liked, and shared my book with others. The feeling of joy is bursting out of me each day! Pick up your copy of “Winning While Losing: The Upside of Heartbreak” at online bookstores worldwide or at the FriesenPress online bookstore.