Change Starts With You – A Guide to Self-Love
I find that many people spend a bulk of their time worrying about others in their life. What are my kids having for lunch? Is my partner happy at work? Are my parents getting the needed attention? A million thoughts run through your head while only a fraction of them have something to do with yourself. You don’t make time to ensure that you have a proper lunch, or even a moment of silence to center your thoughts. My practice is centered around relationships, but the most important relationship in your life is the one you have with yourself.
Although you have days where you can’t stand your family, you still love them and would do anything to make them happy. Why don’t you do that for yourself? Self-love is often the toughest love to give, and even more difficult to receive. When’s the last time you thought, “Did I do something to make me happy today?” If the answer isn’t, every day, than the first step to loving yourself is making time to do so. Create a self-love routine that fits your every day life. Chose a realistic amount of time that you dedicate to yourself. Whether it be allowing yourself 30 minutes to be a remote hog, an hour to cook and enjoy a meal that YOU want, or two hours to hit a yoga class after work. Set the expectation for yourself and the family that those 30 minutes-two hours are YOU time.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home-parent, or an office grinder, all of your time is spent surrounded by people. Even if you’re never actually alone, it’s common to feel like you’re alone in this game we call life. I urge you to find others who share your interests and struggles. Form a grown-up gang to share the trials and triumphs of life with. Find people who regularly encourage and motivate you to be the best version of yourself, and be persistent about spending quality time with them. This network will provide the support and understanding you long for. Even batman and wonder woman have accomplices. No one should feel they have to face life alone.
Sometimes being alone is exactly what you want. Everyone around is stretching you too thin, and all you want to do is run away and hide in the pantry eating a bag of Goldfish. This feeling of being stretched-thin, taken advantage of, or underappreciated is common when you allow it to happen. Set boundaries with your family, friends, and co-workers to inform them of where you draw the line. It’s okay to say no to requests that don’t bring you joy or personal gain. Whenever possible, only accept invitations that you truly want to energy into.
The primary reason we accept requests we don’t want is because we feel guilty saying no. To love yourself, you must let go of the guilt. Let go of the 500-pound bag of guilt you’ve been toting around, as it only surrounds you with a constant source of negative energy. There’s a reason the phrase, “We all make mistakes,” is well-known. Letting go of guilt begins with accepting the fact that you’re human, and a part of being human is making “mistakes,” or missteps. Rather than dwelling on those decisions, take a step back to understand the lessons you learned from making them. Seeking out that understanding will help you heal and let go.
Letting go of guilt is difficult when there’s a world of people around who seem to have it all figured out. You know, those people who never make the wrong decision, and somehow do it all with the perfect outfit to match? Scrolling through social media is the ultimate source for these supernova humans. With each photo and status update you see, you compare your life to theirs. First, you must remember that social media is the hub of bragging. NO ONE. I repeat, NO ONE, has it all together. Don’t compare yourself to others. By remembering that people over-share positives online, you’ll have an easier time ignoring the urge to compare. Instead, feel happy for them, and consider the things that you’re grateful for.
Self-love doesn’t come easy. Change starts with making time to nurture yourself. Dedicate time to doing what you love, or doing nothing at all. The only thing that matters is that you set a self-love routine that’s focused around YOU. Fit quality time with a network of those who uplift you into your routine, and find that you’re not alone in the self-love journey. Set boundaries with all within your network to avoid spending energy on things that don’t bring you joy. Instead of feeling bad for setting boundaries, let go of the guilt by understanding that you’re also letting go of negative energy. The final step of self-love comes from ending the cycle of comparison. By working these practices into your mindset, you’ll feel more driven and fulfilled than ever.