Self-love is a practice, it is a mantra, it is what we say to ourselves about our selves. Brene Brown says, “Practicing self-love means learning how to trust ourselves, treat ourselves with respect and to be kind and affectionate toward ourselves.” Whether you have self-love down to a science or just learning to love yourself, this is a tall order. Let’s explore it.
I have always believed intrinsically that I love myself however for years my actions would say different. As an overweight woman I would often make jokes about myself. I believed it was just my sense of humor however it would frequently make the recipient uncomfortable. I legitimately did not think anything of the “jokes” and truly did not believe I was being disparaging to myself. I learned that when we feel inadequate we will frequently say something, put it out there, before others can think it. I called it humor but it was a form of self-defense regardless of the lack of fight to defend. I only realize now, that I am no longer overweight, that I was not being humorous as I would NEVER say those things about myself now looking back on those years. I would consider it cruel or mean and hence the “test” for humor fails.
Our words have power. I know this as I am outspoken, loud and most of the time proud. However when those words are used on ourselves the damage can be deep. What we say about ourselves will come to define us eventually; this is the power of a mantra. The more I would make fun of myself, putting myself down, making fun of my weight the worse I would feel about myself; whether I was conscious of it or not is irrelevant the damage is relevant. The opposite is the power of the mantra…
Mantras are repetitive sounds used to penetrate the depths of the unconscious mind and adjust the vibration of all aspects of your being.https://www.doyouyoga.com/how-mantras-work-39322/
…the power of our words whether positive or negative will and can “penetrate the depths of the unconscious mind.” I now remind myself of the power of my words often by internally checking myself and reminding myself to “not put that out there”. Don’t say the words that you would otherwise not say to anyone else, about yourself.
It is often said that you cannot love someone else if you do not love yourself first. I challenge this thought as I love those around me intensely and it is through their eyes that I find my self-love. I have learned to appreciate myself more through those that love me. This may be the very thing that I am now working through as again it leads me back to the reality that I find my value or self-worth through others evaluation of me. No bueno for sure as I continue to search for value through others which leaves me exhausted and questioning why I am doing the things I do.
Psychology Today offers a “Seven-Step Prescription for Self-Love” that I share with you: ( https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/get-hardy/201203/seven-step-prescription-self-love )
- Become mindful. People who have more self-love tend to know what they think, feel, and want. They are mindful of who they are and act on this knowledge, rather than on what others want for them.
- Act on what you need rather than what you want. You love yourself when you can turn away from something that feels good and exciting to what you need to stay strong, centered, and moving forward in your life, instead. By staying focused on what you need, you turn away from automatic behavior patterns that get you into trouble, keep you stuck in the past, and lessen self-love.
- Practice good self-care. You will love yourself more, when you take better care of your basic needs. People high in self-love nourish themselves daily through healthy activities, like sound nutrition, exercise, proper sleep, intimacy and healthy social interactions.
- Set boundaries. You’ll love yourself more when you set limits or say no to work, love, or activities that deplete or harm you physically, emotionally and spiritually, or express poorly who you are.
- Protect yourself. Bring the right people into your life. I love the term frenemies that I learned from my younger clients. It describes so well the type of “friends” who take pleasure in your pain and loss rather than in your happiness and success. My suggestion to you here: Get rid of them! There isn’t enough time in your life to waste on people who want to take away the shine on your face that says, “I genuinely love myself and life.” You will love and respect yourself more.
- Forgive yourself. We humans can be so hard on ourselves. The downside of taking responsibility for our actions is punishing ourselves too much for mistakes in learning and growing. You have to accept your humanness (the fact that you are not perfect), before you can truly love yourself. Practice being less hard on yourself when you make a mistake. Remember, there are no failures, if you have learned and grown from your mistakes; there are only lessons learned.
- Live intentionally. You will accept and love yourself more, whatever is happening in your life, when you live with purpose and design. Your purpose doesn’t have to be crystal clear to you. If your intention is to live a meaningful and healthy life, you will make decisions that support this intention, and feel good about yourself when you succeed in this purpose. You will love yourself more if you see yourself accomplishing what you set out to do. You need to establish your living intentions, to do this.
I am going to make these Seven-steps my mantra for the next week repeating them every morning as a reminder. It will remind me not only how I want to treat myself but will also lay the foundation for how I will treat others. I tend to show those around me the love through my support, my time and my resources leaving myself depleted. By following my new RX above I will offer that support, time and resources to myself FIRST which is the greatest form of self-love I can imagine.
Loving thyself – L.