What it means to truly love yourself

We’ve been told to love ourselves by the wellness community for years. It seems simple enough, doesn’t it? Of course you should love yourself. Of course your glass needs to be full before you can extend love to others. Some people even attribute diseases in the body to a lack of self love. However, sometimes the simplest concepts are the hardest to master. For a long time I found the term “love yourself” to be ambiguous, and I asked people I knew for concrete examples of self love. Surprisingly, many of these people were unclear as to what it really meant, they only knew that it was something we all should be doing.

So, after a lot of soul searching and learning, I’ve come up with some real, tangible ways of showing myself love. I hope they resonate with you!

It takes courage

First of all, truly loving ourselves takes courage. The word courage actually comes from the Latin “cor”, which means heart. There are times when we need to call upon that courage in our hearts to speak up for ourselves or a loved one when need be. It takes courage to admit that you’re wrong or to accept aspects of yourself that might differ from the “norm”. It takes courage to make a life change, to battle an illness, to walk away from a relationship that isn’t healthy, or to simply decide that you are responsible for your life.

We all have courage within us.  You can tap into that courageous, warrior energy by standing with your feet firmly grounded, placing your hand on your heart, taking in deep, belly breaths and affirming, “It takes courage to live this life. It takes courage to love myself. And I have lots of courage!”

Embrace your past

Think about the last time you went on a date with someone you really liked. You probably wanted to know all about them- what they like to do, where their came from, who their family and friends are. You may even have been tempted to check out their social media pages to find out more.

So often, we get so caught up in our lives that we sweep our own pasts, those aspects that made us who we are, under the rug.  Many of us may even be ashamed of aspects of our pasts or our families of origin.

Finding at least one trustworthy person to share your story with can help release the power your past has over you. I was fortunate enough to work with a great coach, Connie Benedict from Moclar Moments, who I felt safe enough with to tell my story- the good, the bad and the ugly. Having someone listen with non-judgement and compassion really changed the momentum of patterns that I had been carrying forward from the past. Once I’d gotten it all out, I realized that my story wasn’t that crazy or completely unheard of. In this way, I was able to move forward and start focussing on what I wanted for my future rather than being chained to my old story.

Make your health a priority 

It’s impossible to really step into the fullness of who you are if you’re always sluggish or under the weather. Part of self love is caring for and honoring the body that you’re in.

There are numerous studies proving that moderate, regular exercise can extend lifespan and lower the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Getting active can also help ease anxiety and depression. Of course, there will be times when the most loving thing you can do for yourself is rest. Be open to the fact that self- love will look different from day to day. Say the phrase, “Today I love myself and my body by_____” and see what word comes up.

Create a vision for your future

It can be easy to coast through life, allowing the days to turn into weeks and then years, until you wake up one day and realize that your life is not how you wanted it to be. Having self love means actively creating a future for yourself that you will feel at peace living in.  Seeing a life coach can be a great way to clarify goals and create an action plan with specific steps to help you achieve them. If this is not in your budget at the moment, you could try creating a vision board and placing it somewhere that you can see it everyday. Stay close to your passion and surround yourself with people and things that inspire you.

Nourish your soul

Most of us are way more critical of ourselves than we are of those we love.  This is no surprise, as we’re constantly bombarded with messages about how we should look, or how accomplished we should be, how we aren’t good enough until do and have more. We can internalize these messages until self-judgements play in our heads so often that we become accustomed to them.

You can show yourself love by filling your spirit with messages of acceptance and positivity. This can be in the form of audio books, guided meditations, gratitude, affirmations- any positive media, books or messages that will speak joy over you and your life. You will be amazed at the impact that even a few minutes of positivity each day  has on your self-esteem and outlook on life.

Love yourself in your imperfection

Self -love is more than just self-care, living a healthy lifestyle, or even being emotionally well-balanced. It’s being with yourself in the deep places. It’s being compassionate with yourself in those times when you’re resistant to change, when you’ve messed up, when you’re struggling to put your life back together. It’s deciding that you’re worthy of love right now, wherever you’re at. It’s forgiving yourself for all the mistakes and mess ups. It’s being patient with yourself when you can’t seem to get it right, when things just aren’t moving as fast as you’d like them to. I believe that learning to love and accept yourself as well as others fully is a life-long journey, so be patient! Commit yourself to the mission and be gentle with yourself when you don’t get it right. Accept yourself fully now and give yourself permission to take the time and space you need to grow. ❤

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