Happy February beautiful babes! In honor of this month, I want to talk to you about love. Not the mushy Valentine’s Day love we're seeing in every store we walk into these days. I want to talk to you about self-love.
Self-love is one of the hardest, but arguably most important things to work for in one’s lifetime.
The world around us doesn’t make it easy. There are all sorts of narrow definitions of what we are “allowed” to be or look like. Trying to fit within those molds is a recipe for negative self-talk and losing touch with self-love. On top of all of that identity shaming the world throws our way, as women, most of us are probably our own worst critics. We throw hateful words at our bodies. We avoid mirrors. We punish ourselves for eating a donut instead of green juice or for sleeping a bit longer instead of going to the gym before work. We have such a hard time accepting ourselves that we don’t always project who we truly are to the world. Instead, we create crafted versions of ourselves, whether it’s online or in our own interpersonal relationships to fit the molds that our society approves of. Versions of ourselves that we hope other people will like, and that maybe we will learn to like too.
And yet, it is from a place of self-love that we are able to truly love other people in the way that both they and we deserve to be loved. We can’t entirely show up for ourselves or the ones we care about when we’re busy hating on ourselves all the time. When we lose touch with ourselves, life around us suffers. Our relationships suffer, our drive suffers, our confidence suffers. We’re not showing up in the world from a place of self-love and therefore are not reaching our highest potential.
Think about a time when you’ve felt super confident in yourself. The way you carried yourself, the thoughts you said aloud and the energy you projected into the room all influenced the way other people interacted with you. I bet the people around you were more loving and more affectionate towards you. They listened harder to your words and were moved by your presence. AND I bet you were showing up for them and yourself on a greater level too. You were more forthcoming with your love and support. You were accomplishing your personal goals. Things were in the flow. All because you were in a place where you were confident in yourself and loved yourself. Now think about a time when you were self-loathing or insecure. People’s interactions with you weren’t the same, were they? And I’m willing to guess that you weren’t showing up for them or yourself in the way you would like to either. You were unable to truly listen to them or got stuck in your own ruts.
Simply put, how you talk to and feel about yourself shows: when you are self-loving, your positivity shines through; when you are negative, that negativity shows through too.
Now, I do not pretend to have all of the answers about self-love. I too am working on it, daily. I’m working on reducing the negative self-talk I exchange with myself in the mirror. I am working on loving myself, fully, for the body that I am in, the personality that I have, and the ideas that I bring to the table. It’s freaking hard work and it’s not a straight line by any means.
I truly believe that self-love is an art, not a science.
There isn’t a magical formula that gets you to self-love. It takes constant effort and sometimes feels impossible. And yet, when you get there, you find you have created the most beautiful thing in the world.
So let’s work on the art of self-love together this month, shall we?
Let’s dedicate the month of February to cultivating our own self-love. Not only will we personally benefit from this, but so will the people around us and our crazy world in general. Below are some ideas I have about how we can work on loving ourselves. Feel free to add other things that have worked for you in the comments or email me!
Why don’t we start with MANTRAS?
I love coming up with mantras for myself. They are a great way for helping our brains internalize positive messages about ourselves. Some you only need for a short time and some stick with you. One that I’ve kept coming back to over the past year or so is “I am smart, I am confident, I am successful, I am strong.” It encompasses all of the things I want to feel about myself deep down in my day-to-day life, but sometimes need to be reminded of.
What will your mantra be this month?
Write it down.
Quick note… using “I am” statements when coming up with a mantra (rather than “I will” statements) is much more effective. Even if you don’t believe the statement at the moment, saying “I am“ helps your mind to internalize it on a subconscious level. Over time, you’ll find that you feel the truth of the mantra in your present, rather than a belief you hope to one day have about yourself.
Okay, now that you have your mantra, it's time to come up with ways to make sure that mantra is IN YOUR FACE all month! Put post-it notes on all of your mirrors. Make it the background of your computer or phone. Draw a beautiful representation of it and frame it on your desk. Put daily reminders in your phone. Say it to yourself 5 times when you wake up and 5 times before you go to bed. Say it in the shower. See that mantra everywhere you go so you start to BELIEVE it.
It’s always so wonderful hearing nice things about yourself. Why not be the one to say them to you?
Now, how about some MEDITATION?
Meditation is known for its healing power and its ability to help us realign our energy with the Universe around us. Personally, I’ve been working on meditating more. In the past when I’ve done it, I’ve felt amazing and always got something out of it. Yet with my busy schedule, I’ve had trouble getting myself to take the time to sit down and just be still for a bit.
So I’m making a conscious effort to meditate each morning this month. This too is part of self-care and self-love. I am dedicating time to myself every morning. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes, I am showing up for myself and giving myself the space to quiet my mind.
Mediations can either be guided or self-lead. Recently, I’ve found that it’s been easier for me to focus when I’ve followed a guided mediation. Sometimes, I find that when the guided mediation is done, I want to keep going on my own. Whatever works best for you - follow what your soul needs at that moment. (If you need some guided meditation resources, I suggest checking out Calm or Gabby Bernstein’s website. There’s great stuff on both!)
Take a seat, light a candle and go for it babe! Your soul will thank you!
How about some additional POSITIVE SELF-TALK?
While we’ve got a mantra put in place, let’s go a step further. Next time you look in the mirror, instead of criticizing all of the things you don’t like about your body, say one nice thing to yourself. It can be as small as “My hair looks good today”. Give yourself one compliment. That’s it! I have faith that you can do that.
It helps to say it out loud too. It might be weird if you’re in a shared bathroom with total strangers, so in those cases you have permission to say it in your head. But at home, say it out loud! Start to enjoy the sound of your voice complimenting yourself! It’s okay if it takes some time to get used to. After all of those years of self-criticism, it’s totally normal if you brain takes some time to shift out of the negative to the positive. But the more you do this, the more it’ll become second nature to speak more positively to yourself.
Full disclosure: this is a big one for me to work on! Historically I have been extremely critical of my appearance in the mirror, but I am promising to truly work on it this month. You are my witness - please hold me accountable! (And if you need an accountability partner, let me know!)
Alright, now that we’ve got the self-love messaging down, let’s set aside some "ME TIME".
I know we sort of covered this in the meditation section, but let’s go a step further again. Let’s carve out some time during the week to be with ourselves. Shoot for at least 1 hour! Go for a long walk around your neighborhood or through the woods. Shut your bedroom door and dance around to your favorite music. Stay in one night during the week and finally make a dent in that book you’ve been wanting to read. Take yourself out on a solo movie date. Go get a massage or a facial at your favorite spa.
Do something that is ALL ABOUT YOU!
I’m guessing you do a lot of things for other people, but don’t do as much for yourself. Am I right? It’s okay. You can keep doing all of those things, but really take some time to focus on YOU at least once during the week. Put it on your calendar as a date with yourself so it can’t accidentally get scheduled over. Get back in touch with yourself - she’s been waiting for your attention.
So, ladies, we’ve got some exercises to work on!
I’m committing to myself (and to you) that I am going to do all of these exercises throughout the month of February to start fostering a better sense of love for myself. You can do all of them as well or pick the one(s) that resonates with you the most.
Are you with me?
Let me know in the comments below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help hold each other accountable and support each other’s self-love journey!
Now go love yourself, babe!