I’ve talked about self-care and self-talk in the past but self-love is different. It harnesses both self-care and self-talk into a perspective that views oneself as loved and valuable outside the cultural means of success and value. So before we talk about self-love & how to self-love, let’s backtrack to self-care and self-talk and how they contribute to self-love.
Self-care are activities you do to care for your mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing. These acts can be hot baths after a stressful week, eating well, going for a run when you feel anxious or have excess energy. Self-care is also recognizing your battery is low and saying NO to energy-draining people or activities. Self-care can be meditation, journaling, or prayer. And running, playing a game, or listening to a murder mystery podcast.
Self-talk is how you speak to yourself. Are you gentle with yourself, “I made a mistake but that mistake doesn’t define me” or are you harsh, “I can’t believe I did that. I’m such an idiot.” We often have this inner dialogue with ourselves that no one else ever hears, but often how we speak to others and reflect on situations can reveal a lot about that inner chatter. If you can’t speak kindly, lovingly, and honestly with yourself, can others around you take the words you say to heart?
Self-love is deeply loving yourself, despite flaws (physical or otherwise) and fully acknowledging the things you are good at whether or not they come with financial success or the recognition of others. Culturally, we are taught from a young age what it looks like to be successful, beautiful, and valued. Often these things involve sacrificing our very being for the corporate ladder, that our physical characteristics determine if we are beautiful or not, and putting everyone else’s needs before our own.
Self-love says you don’t need to give your life to that corporation to be successful. Success doesn’t have to be a 3 bed, 2 bath, Ranch with a 2 car garage. Success can be following your dream to own your own business even if you are barely making rent, so long as you can provide for yourself & you love what you’re doing. Self-love is working a corporate 9-5 and having healthy boundaries, so you can enjoy the time you have with your family & friends.
Self-love says you are more than your physical characteristics. Your body is AMAZING, it basically functions without you having to think about it. Loving your body & what it is capable of is so much more than fitting into some cookie-cutter look that culture has described as beautiful for the last 70 years. Self-love is having hips, or not, having rolls or not, shaving or not, wearing tight clothes because you like too or loose clothes because you like to. Self-love is more than a size, it is loving what your body has been through and the things it is capable of.
Self-love says you must put your own oxygen mask on first before assisting others. If you don’t care for yourself well, how can you care for others well? By not taking the time to do those self-care activities that replenish your well, you begin to run dry mentally, physically, and spiritually. Studies have found many health problems related to stress. Stress seems to worsen or increase the risk of conditions like obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems, and asthma. (WebMD) Self-love is recognizing when you need to step back and say no, to verbalize you need time, space, or rest without guilt or shame.
So, this Valentine’s day I implore you to care & love yourself. You were wonderfully and uniquely made. Celebrate those in your life who are doing incredible things and be sure to tell them, how special, talented, and loved they are for simply being themselves.