I have a confession to make : I haven’t always been great at my self love game.
It took me years to finally get to a place where I feel I truly love myself, and believe me – I still have my days.
Practice and consistency, as well as presence have been the most crucial elements to creating a relationship with me that has me embracing my individuality, enjoying my own presence and seeing others when there is a real desire.
Of course as humans, we inherently need each other to survive. This isn’t a post to encourage you to become hyper independent and only rely on yourself for love.
Rather, you should get into a flow of giving and receiving, to yourself and others.
Retiring when you’re tired.
Socialising when you’re full.
What does loving myself look like for me?
-Putting myself first, always
– Doing something because it feels right, rather than following pressure
– Working on my triggers and healing
– Creating a safe space in my body to feel
– Setting boundaries where there may be energy leaks
… And more.
How can you do the same then? How can you let more love into your life so you can feel more fulfilled and less overwhelmed?
1) Redefine your definition of love
I think the first place to start is by unpacking what love means to you. We have this strange idea of love that has us thinking the only way to obtain it is through romantic codependency. We grow up watching Disney films and expect to be completed by one, monogamous partner.
When you start to expand on what love means to you, it can go in any direction. Relationships don’t have to be in a certain form for it to work, it’s very much about adapting to what makes YOU feel good as well.
In Greek, in fact, there are various different words for love,
That’s because they understood that love is not a one size fits all story.
– Platonic (philia)
– Storge (devoted love)
– Pragma (dedicated, duty orientated love)
– Ludus (playful love)
– Mania (jealous, possessive)
– Meraki (creative love)
With this in mind, we can use these different types of love to gain access to what we desire the most. For example, perhaps you’re in a phase of life in which you could use some more fun, then you could hone into the playful love of Ludus. If you’re looking to commit to your projects and develop healthy habits, however, you may be veering more towards pragma.
So when you’re looking to serve yourself some too, it’s important to have a concept of love that you can accept and digest.
2) Accept that it will be a major shift
If this is the first time you delve into self love content or it’s been a while, be patient with yourself.
It can take a minute to come back into contact with yourself and find your centre. I say this especially if you’re a mom, and tiny humans rely on you 24/7.
Find small ways to come back to your body and your breath each day.
5 minutes, here and there, can be all it takes to bring yourself into the present moment and get out of your head. Here are some ways to come back into your body if you have the tendency to disassociate :
– Place your hands on any body part and focus on the feeling
– Notice five things around you in your physical surroundings
– Make a hot drink and feel the flavours and the heat in your mouth
– Try going a while barefoot
– Have a drink of water
The idea is just to bring you back into a safe space where you can freely express yourself – even if you are alone. Sometimes there are days where I feel too mentally blocked to write in my journal. On days like this, the body needs some persuasion to open up again and let the emotions flow.
3) Take your time
How often do you rush to get dressed when you’ve showered in the morning? Do you chug down your coffee or do you try and enjoy the taste no matter how quickly you have to drink it?
Self love starts with slowing down and taking your time to appreciate all that your body can do. Sometimes this will look like relaxing in a long soaking bubble bath, sometimes it will look like smelling your face cream before applying in conscious circles.
When you start to take time to pause and feel how your skin feels, caress your hair, put your jewellery on, is when you start to appreciate being in your own skin.
Getting comfortable in your own skin will help you build your self love from the inside out.
Of course, I know as a busy mama you may not have so many hours in the day to dedicate to self love, but make it about the intention more than the time you spend.
Light a candle, set the mood, burn some incense. Make it yours.
4) Understand your needs
The easiest way to love yourself is to hone in on your emotional needs and understand what you need more of to thrive.
Where are you feeling lack in your relationships? Do you ever feel you need more compassion? How can you take this as a reflection and give this back to you?
– Self compassion could start with changing how you talk to yourself as much as you can
– Self confidence begins with being less judgemental around others, and then yourself. Get out of the black and white.
- Self care could mean starting to understand what you need to do on a daily basis to take care of yourself, all the little acts that add up.
5) Set boundaries around those needs
Now that you know what you want to see more of, you also will know what you need to say no to as a consequence.
Many believe that boundaries are like boxes we make for ourselves, but this is not entirely true. Think of boundaries as lines you draw with a fine marker, knowing where someone can or cannot pass your energy. Firm lines are a way of protecting your energy, so you can concentrate on what makes your heart sing.
If you have a history of pleasing people and putting others first, at first it may be hard for you to draw the lines. Start with small things, like stating that on the weekends, you would rather not cook or that ‘mummy is having a moment’ as you walk away for five minutes.
Little by little, you will be able to stand up for yourself during an important discussion, voice your concerns and have your needs met.
6) Do the deep work
Self love is not always pretty. It doesn’t mean only being proud of yourself when you’ve achieved something, or made the right move. It’s about loving yourself despite the wrong choices you may make, forgiving yourself and carrying on.
That said, working through past trauma and existential burdens can be heavy, so you want to rely on number #2 to get you through. Remember that growth is not linear, and just because you may be healing does not mean that you’re broken.
7) Have a goal
When in the beginning part of your self love journey, it can be useful to set some goals for yourself – not with the aim of burning yourself out completing them, but to have some sort of direction.
Identify what you want to get the most out of loving yourself more – is it to feel more acknowledged and recognised? Is it to feel better in your own skin? Perhaps it’s to be able to speak freely in front of many, only you will know.
Write a little list of say 5 things that come to mind that you’d like to achieve through loving yourself more – what kind of results can you have?
Once you’ve done that, let it go and allow the self love work to do the manifesting.
You can look back at what you’ve written in a few months and see if you are aligned with those goals, or you need to modify them.