When someone uses the word self-care or self-love what are your initial reactions?
“I don’t know how you put yourself first all the time”
“You must have all the free time in the world! I’m lucky if I get half an hour to watch TV!”
“Sorry I don’t agree with being selfish”
Why? What is it about these phrases that scream selfish to you? It can’t be blamed on the use of the word ‘Self’ as if it was followed by -abuse or -deprecating you would feel compassion or sympathy instead… surely?
And the words care and love are positive, affectionate words so it can’t be the use of those either…. So what is it?
Why does the combination make you feel negatively? Do you not agree that people should love and look after themselves? Do you not love and look after yourself?
If the answer is not really, we need to talk.
Self-care and Self-love are two different things, yet the lines often get blurred.
To partake in self-care you look after yourself; you learn to nourish and exercise your body, you have a skin care routine, have regular trips to the salon… them kind of things. You give yourself some time to focus on you and your needs; time to refuel and recharge.
However, just because you have a self-care routine doesn’t necessarily mean you love yourself. Don’t get me wrong self-care is a part of self-love but it doesn’t mean the same thing.
To subscribe to self-love you have to enjoy who you are as a person; flaws and all. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How would you describe yourself?
- Do you think you are beautiful?
- Do you enjoy your own company?
- Are their moments when you wish you were someone else?
- Do you feel proud and confident with who you are?
Now if you answered No to 2, 3 & 5 and Yes to 4…. know you are not alone. There are people all over the world that aren’t happy with who they are; which is crazy when you think about it, as surely people could just change if they’re not happy, right?
Unfortunately it’s not that easy.
With social media at the forefront of our society, and magazines publishing the ‘perfect people who have it all’, it’s no wonder that the rest of us think there’s something wrong with who we are. But I urge you to stick two fingers up to what society deems ‘perfect‘ and embrace being you!
Think about it… you have to spend the rest of your life with yourself. You are the only person that you can guarantee will always be with you. So surely it makes sense to love the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with?
We are all so obsessed with finding the yin to our yang, the Timone to our Pumba, the Ron to our Hermione (I get they aren’t exactly Jack and Rose but I just love a bit of HP!). When really we should first and foremost focus on the relationship we have with ourselves. And you shouldn’t feel guilty for giving yourself some time and appreciation either; you deserve it.
Some people believe that they are put on the planet for other people. My mum for instance lives her life for her family; she doesn’t do anything for herself. She has worked her way to the top of a business that causes her great stress just so she can provide for her family. She will drop or change her plans if asked to do something for someone else. She even doesn’t believe she’s worth enough to focus on her own health and fitness…. which is insane. But unfortunately she isn’t an anomaly, she’s the majority of people, especially parents, out there.
Now I am not saying you should always put yourself before others or value your own life higher than everyone elses. In fact I am urging you to give more to yourself so you have even more to give to others. Just think about it…
A business can’t make money without first putting money into the business.
A lemon tree cannot make the most delicious lemonade without first taking the time to grow the most delicious lemons.
A person cannot bring endless joyful energy into someone else’s life without first filling themselves up with joyful energy and replenishing their stock regularly.
Am I making sense?
You’ll have more to give to others, the more you give to yourself.
It’s not selfish to practice self-love and self-care. As not only will the two bring more happiness into your own life but in turn it will infect the lives of others in a positive way too.
So how do we learn to love ourselves?
Step 1. Get to know yourself.
Spend some time alone, figuring out who you are. Take yourself on a long walk or out on a dinner dater; I honestly love taking myself on a date, you can do what you want without having to worry about someone else’s enjoyment or preference… its strangely empowering.
Step 2. Forgive yourself.
We all make mistakes and carry regrets. Even when we learn to accept our past as it lead to our present; we can still regret things. So rather than dismissing them and fooling yourself into believing you wouldn’t do anything different if given the chance; understand that you can learn and move on from the mistakes without having them define who you are now. Forgive yourself for not being the best you you could have been every second of everyday. You are human after all and it is part of our make-up to learn and grow from our mistakes.
Step 3. Treat Yo-self!
By this I mean indulge in some self-care. Schedule in some ‘you’ time and treat it as if it is a business appointment; aka don’t miss it. Have a candle lit bubble bath once a week with a magazine and a glass of wine. Get your nails and hair done on a regular basis. Spend time each day doing something that is just for you and that makes you happy – bury yourself in a book, watch an episode of your favourite tv show, go for a jog or simply dance around your living room whilst singing at the top of your lungs. Whatever you need to do for you, do it.
Step 4. Become your own author.
It’s crazy how much writing things down can have a positive impact on your mind. If you spend a little time each night before you go to bed just noting down the things you have been thinking about that day and making a plan for what the next day is going to entail you will find you can have a more restful nights sleep; without lying there playing everything over in your head again and again.
What I also mean by ‘become your own author‘ is ensure you are the one writing your own story. Do what you want in life, after all it is your life and you only get this one; so don’t waste it trying to live up to other peoples expectations. Do the things that make you happy and fill you with joy. I don’t mean disregard everyone else and their feelings, and obviously you’ll most likely have responsibilities to take into account, but if you don’t follow your own dreams you’ll never get there. Write your own story.
Step 5. Learn to Connect.
Some people think practices such as yoga, meditation and mindfulness are just “Hippy BS” and a fad that the millennials, in particular, are pushing right now because its ‘trendy’…. but truthfully, if you look at the people at the top of their game, both career wise and on a personal level, they will subscribe to one if not all of these practices. Allowing yourself to truly give into at least one of the above disciplines will open up a door to authentically connect with yourself. I understand they might not be everyone’s cup of tea at first glance; you might think you’re not flexible enough for yoga or get bored to easily for meditation, but I promise you they are for everyone and will bring some form of positive influence into your life. They force you to connect to your breath, a part of all of us that is so important yet we all take it for granted, and release yourself from negativity…….. which consequently opens up your path towards positivity – where you can find your self-love.
However, you should also learn to connect with other people as well as with yourself. Find people that feed your soul. That not only bring out the best in you but don’t run when you show them your ‘not so best’ side. It is so important to not trap yourself in a bubble of social negativity, as your energy will be affected by the energy around you. Therefore if you’re surrounding yourself with people that are constantly talking negatively, your thoughts will start to unconsciously be negative too… and you can’t love yourself if your in a state of hate.
Connect with yourself and your surroundings; the people and the environment. Stop and smell the flowers once in a while. Really savour the taste of that chocolate bar. Notice how blue the sky is; or that guys eyes. Where are you? Who are you with? What are you doing? How do you feel? Take notice and connect.
Step 6. Compliment Often.
Tell your friend he has the best laugh. Tell your mum she is amazing. Tell that stranger that you love their jacket. Tell yourself you are magnificent and capable of anything.
Compliments have crazy strong powers. They can literally turn someone’s day around. They also not only make the receiver feel fantastic but they make the giver feel good too. It’s infectious to make someone else happy; so in turn you too will be happy and you may just have started a chain of compliments that leads to lots of people feeling happy.
Make sure you don’t miss out yourself though when dishing out the compliments! Congratulate yourself on your achievements; tell yourself you are talented and intelligent and a hard worker. Make yourself laugh and compliment yourself on your hilarity. Stand in front of the mirror and, even if you don’t believe it to begin with, tell yourself you are beautiful; you are gorgeous, you are sexy, you are extraordinary. Tell yourself everyday how wonderful you are and even if you feel like you’re playing the ‘fake it till you make it‘ game at first, soon you’ll see just how true it is.
It isn’t an act of arrogance to compliment yourself or to love who you are. Instead it is an act of understanding. Understanding that you are unique and you are magnificent. That you are gifted with the opportunity of life so you refuse to spend it in hate and anger and would rather fill it with love, laughter and joy; with happiness and kindness and with all the many positive things you are capable of experiencing and sharing with others.
So start practicing Self-Love and fall in love with not only yourself but also your life!
#bettyoucan #bettican #bettwecan