We are often told that we should love ourselves and give ourselves some love. Yet sadly, explanations of why this is so fundamental are thin on the ground and so too therefore are the suggestions of how we can love ourselves, what this will add to our lives and most importantly – how we inevitably benefit exponentially if we choose to.
First up let’s remove the “should”. Tell someone they “should” do something and watch how quickly they turn in the other direction instantly drained by the drudging despair of “should”. What I’d like to offer you instead is a choice because that’s really what true self-love is; a choice. It’s a choice with a damn good why, a damn good how and when mastered offers the chance to live life to the absolute fullest.
My question to you is this:
Do you want to live the best life possible? The most fulfilled, exciting, opportunistic, energised, alive, passionate, connected, imaginative, creative, adventurous, courageous, loving, meaningful, miracle of an existence whilst the short time you have on this earth allows?
If it’s a no – fair enough. Perhaps you want to just stick to ticking along nicely showing yourself some self-love by simply running a hot bubble bath, sipping a cocktail, having a sweet treat, sleeping-in, watching a netflix marathon (let’s hear it for Normal People, Self Made and Schitt’s Creek – my recent favourites) soaking up some spa time, etc etc. I get this. It’s fun! And I love doing all these things too.
The only thing is that it’s just such a small part of what real self-love is all about. Stop here and you miss the full magic. But for those of you who want to answer a HELL YEA TELL ME MORE!!! to my question then HELLO MY LOVELIES I AM SO EXCITED TO TELL YOU MORE!!
First, a quick admission: I didn’t always understand the term self-love in its entirety and I wish I had. I’d have been so much better for it. Although I’ve learnt and grown so much from my mistakes and I can feel grateful for all of it, there is no question that if I’d known what I know now about self-love I would have been far happier, more proactive, more productive, energised, motivated, excited, connected (to myself and others) and had better relationships (with myself, my family, friends and significant others). I’d have also discovered more opportunities, been more courageous and achieved more.
So with the intention of shining a light for as many of you as I can and inspiring more lives to be lived to the full, I want to share some fundamental truths about REAL self-love and what it entails because we all deserve to live our most fulfilled, most meaningful, loved-up lives starting from NOW.
- You are a miracle. You matter. You are, have always been and will always be SO much more than enough.
You don’t have to prove anything. Forget feeling like you have to prove your worth by ticking societal achievement boxes like having a successful career, sensational love-life, packed social calendar, XXXX no of IG followers, acceptable body shape etc etc before you think you are a smidge worthy. The truth? The truth is that your worth is innate. You were born MIRACULOUS. You are a unique product of the universe, a divine soul made out of an incomprehensible collision of particles that has not stopped expanding and making magic and you are an integral part. You did not come here to prove you can tick someone else’s boxes you came here to love, learn, laugh, cry, fall, grow, express, expand, rise, create, conquer, keep conquering, keep making mistakes, keep rising and keep LIVING your wildest dreams.
- “Comparison is an act of violence against your authentic self”. (Lyanla Vanzant)
Comparison misses the whole point of your life. You are YOU. This is your superpower. If you desert yourself trying to copy someone else you sabotage your true happiness, fulfilment, connection to yourself and others and your ability to love and live – to love your life. You become an imposter. This is not what you are here for. You are here to offer the world your unique one-of-a-humankind blend of gifts, passions, interests and quirks that no one else will ever and can ever replicate. We are incomparable. We are all infinitely valuable. No star shines the same.
- Focus on your strengths
You get more of what you focus on so focus on your gifts and strengths. Focus on what you do well, on what you want to celebrate and envisage going from strength to strength. Replace self-criticism with praise, acknowledgement and encouragement. This is how you nourish the seeds and allow them to flourish versus stripping the soil bare and witnessing the flowers wilt.
- You are your present
The philosopher Heraclitus once said: “You never bathe in the same river twice, because it’s never the same river and it’s never the same you.” Nothing stays the same not even ourselves, not even the cells in our bodies. Everything is in a constant state of change. Do not let your past define you. Live in the present moment. Be open, curious and courageous. Envisage a big, bright future that will be so much more than anything you’ve ever experienced. Let go of the old stories, let go of anything making your journey heavy. Let it go and tread sprightly on your new path to brave new, beautiful, expansive experiences.
- Self-care is essential and spreads like wild fire into the lives of others
We are human beings. We have needs. This is how it works. When our needs are met we thrive and when they are not met we suffer and those around us suffer too as a result. If we treat ourselves with the care, love and respect we deserve we will have more energy to give to others and to give to the world. If we run ourselves into the ground then what we experience will be lack, limitation and what we give back will be charged with the same negative energy. Us humans light up and come alive when we do what we love with the ones we love when we are looked after, loved and have our needs met. This energy is infectious and we can’t help but want to spread it in excitement and enthusiasm and see others light up too.
So ask yourself: what do I need in order to bring my best self to the people and things that I love? More sleep? More nutritious food? More time in nature? More movement? More time with loved ones? More hugs? More gratitude? A job change? Make these changes and see how your world changes and those in it will too.
- You are not your saboteurs
Remember – anytime you catch yourself thinking you’re not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not charismatic enough, not skilled enough, not clever enough, not worthy enough … you are being hijacked and operated by your saboteurs. (Saboteurs are your inner critics and self-destructors which I coach my clients on in my one-to-one and group sessions.)
You are not your saboteurs. You can simply observe any instances when your saboteurs show up and notice them without judgement. You can ask yourself how they may be identifying something for you to get curious about and check that you are living in alignment with your values, your life purpose (versus forgetting about what’s important to you and living by someone else’s values) and make sure you are surrounded by people who bring you joy and love and learning and growth. Call your sage (your inner wise best friend) to ensure you remain open-minded, growth-orientated, true to yourself, your values, your purpose and aligned in your response.
- Create empowering self-talk because you are always listening and responding
Your mind responds to what you tell it. So, as well as mindfully observing your self-critical thoughts without judgement, and responding in a compassionate, expansive way you can also cultivate supportive and empowering self-talk. You can encourage yourself with kind words, a growth-mindset and powerful affirmations: “I can do this”, “I’m nailing this” “I am doing so well” etc. Your self-talk matters because YOU are listening and it has an impact on the way you see yourself, the people and the world around you and what you believe you are capable of. If you believe you are capable of more you will do more and live more abundantly. As Oprah says: “Create the highest grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe”. And Buddha: “What you think you become, what you feel you attract, what you imagine you create.”
- You deserve your own compassion, encouragement and growth-mindset
You extend compassion, care and perspective to loved ones when they are sad or afraid or feeling self-critical, and you deserve this from yourself too. When you feel sad, hurt, afraid, ashamed, anxious, stressed — instead of reacting with frustration or judgment, respond with love and comfort. You will be in “saboteur mode” and the way to move forwards is by extending yourself compassion, encouragement, perspective and a growth mind-set. There is opportunity in every situation; take stock of the benefits as well as the drawbacks and choose whatever path presents the most growth and adds the most meaning and purpose to your life.
- You are not your body
Your body is your temple for your soul. It’s the awe-inspiring vehicle that allows us to move through this wild and wonderful world; to experience it, touch it, taste it, smell it, listen to it, speak to it, feel it and rejoice in all there is to marvel at. So nourish your body and love it and forget what you think are your “imperfections”. Think about the big picture. Think about what you want your legacy to be. What impact you want to have on the world and the people in it? What do you want to achieve and experience? Make a plan and go for it!
- You are what you think you are
Self-validation is everything. If you love who you are that is more than enough. Other people will have different opinions of you based on their experiences and their view of the world. It is nothing to do with who YOU ARE but everything to do with who they think they are. Their opinion of you is subjective; it is not true. The only validation you need is from yourself. That is what sets you free.
- You are capable of living your dreams
Create the life you dream of by actively bringing each one to life. Get rid of all negative energy (habits, actions, people) and bring in positive energy (habits, actions, people). Imagine the life you want and write out the steps to get there. Who do you need to be to live your dreams? What do you need to do? Research shows the bigger the picture you paint and the more clarity and colour you give to it – the better your results will be. Therefore, get creative! Create a beautiful picture map of your goals and dreams. Create a vision board. Go for it! Make sure you make it a BIG dream. You deserve nothing less.
- You have to love yourself to love life
Self-love happens NOW not sometime in the future when we get the loving partner, the perfect job, the bigger bank balance, etc etc etcccc. Wake up! The world is a reflection of you so if you want your reality to change, you have to change your thoughts, behaviours and actions. Want true, unconditional love? You have to give it to yourself first. Want success? You have to own and action your talents now. Things happen in this order, not backwards.
- You are imperfect and it’s beautiful
As Buddha said: “We are all perfect just as we are, and we could all use a little work.” Accept your imperfections, your strengths, talents and things that you just know you will never be great at. It’s ok! It makes you YOU. Celebrate and laugh and love it all.
- Self-love is essential for living life in abundance
Dismiss self-love as cliche and insignificant? You’ve probably not realised and experienced everything I’ve mentioned here and that’s okay, as long as you’ve seen where you could give yourself more, real self-love now. You are the person you spend the most time with so your relationship with yourself has a fundamental impact on your quality of life.
- You are way more magical and magnificent than you know
Know who you really are deep down below all the titles and roles. Know what values you live by and what you aim to achieve and what meaning and purpose drives you. When you get in touch with this true authentic part of yourself, you will lead from a place of unconditional love and infinite worth which will release all limitations freeing you to infinite opportunities in life.
So, take some time and write down your values. Next, affirm your life purpose. This is your inner compass, your true North that will guide you to keep on-track and make the best decisions to allow you to live your best life and achieve your goals.
If you would like to do some one-to-one and/or small group work with me on anything I’ve written about and any obstacle or concern you may be experiencing in your life, please email me for a free sample session.