Do you see those pretty posts everywhere? The ones advocating for self love & self care. The ones that inspire you to be who you are, unapologetically? As if simply saying it is the equivalent to wrapping it up in a bow and handing it to you as a gift. Yea. Same.
The message is important, and the intention is there but, if you're anything like me you've been left thinking, how? How am I supposed to love myself when I've spent the better half of my life tearing myself apart? How do I fall in love with me when i've picked up habits of self destruction that make me my own worst enemy?
The answer isn't easy. Theres no clear path. What I can tell you is there are some tricks i've tried that are working for me. The journey to unconditional self love is a rough one. It won't happen over night. It's more than likely going to be a lifetime of effort. It is going to take a fair amount of hard work. It'll feel silly at times. Some of this might even sound down right dumb. It is like trying to convince someone else something you don't even believe in. But, I promise you it'll be worth it.
First things first. Any time you are down on yourself. Turn up some @lizzobeeating and remember who the f*ck you are. You are beautiful. You are amazing. You are strong. You are important. You are an absolute goddess. This will (almost) always get you in the mood to love on yourself and that is what you are here to do. LOVE YOUR SELF.
Now, just like any other romance, it all starts by paying attention. Start asking questions. Really listen to the answers. What do I like? What inspires me? What do I believe? What am I afraid of? What are my deepest desires? Pretend you've got a big ol' crush on yourself and you want to get to every inch of who you are and what makes you tick. Because the truth is, theres a good chance you don't truly know yourself as well as you may think.
Most of us have created a version (or many versions) of the self we deem suitable to share with the world. In doing so, you've buried some parts of who you are pretty deep. You've probably been mentally and emotionally abusing those little pieces so much so that they really don't want to come out. So even if you think you are ready to uncover and nurture and love all of who you are, you're going to have to do some serious digging.
A dear friend and mentor of mine (@she_moves) once asked me, "if you talked to your best friend the way you talk to yourself, do you think she'd want to go to the beach with you?" I had never once thought of it that way. If your friends knew that every time you looked at
them you'd put them down and make them feel bad about themselves, would they even be your friends at all? The only answer is no.
It is time you started treating yourself as you would one of your dearest friends.
You've got to start practicing positive self talk. Be your own hype woman. Every time you have a negative thought pattern, give yourself a compliment. Write a list of everything you love about who you are. Pick a positive affirmation and repeat it to yourself in the mirror every morning (i'm currently working with, "I am important"). Tell yourself "I love you" before you go to bed at night.
I have a friend who's husband started making her change every insult he heard her say to herself, into a compliment starting with the same letter as the afore mentioned insult . If nothing else it made her laugh every time she got caught, which in its own way, turned a negative into a positive.
These things sound simple and trivial, even kind of silly. But, by speaking highly of yourself, to yourself, you are re-wiring the way your brain sees you. You are actually teaching your mind to love you through a process called neural plasticity.
Do you ever stop to think about how much of your reality exists inside of your mind? If you haven't lately i'm here to remind you, its all of it. Everything around you and everything within you is a reflection of a perception created by your mind. That can be so empowering if you allow it. Once you understand, and I mean really understand. Once you really bite into that concept, taste it, chew it up, and painfully swallow it. Then, and only then, can you start to decorate your mind the way you'd decorate your room as a kid. Or the way you carefully curate your home now as an adult (pinterest boards and all).
Your mind is your space. You control what goes on there. As dark and difficult and confusing as it may be sometimes (and yea, my brain is dark and scary too). You have the ability to turn the lights on, light a candle, grab a throw blanket, curl up with a glass of wine and get to know the inner workings of your mind.
This is where the greatest love story of your life will begin. You are the only person you have to spend every minute of everyday with for the rest of your life. Once you allow yourself to fall madly in love with who you are, unconditionally, the love you accept into your life from other people will taste so much sweeter.