These day, the words self-love get thrown around like confetti. It’s one of those all encompassing, positive blanket statements that can loose all meaning after you’ve heard it enough. It’s also not clear or measurable, so it’s kind of hard to act on. Ya sure, all of us could use a little more ‘self-love’, but what does that even mean?
This might be a strange introduction from a woman who defines herself as a Self-Love Coach, but hear me out. Having been in the personal development world for almost seven years, I’ve seen every kind of trend and it seems like it’s ‘Self-Love’s’ moment to shine. There is no end to articles, interviews or books telling you how to ‘love yourself more.’ Though I am grateful for the rise in popularity of the subject, I have one problem: it’s all surface level.
Have a bath. Light a candle. Buy some flowers. Take a nap.
I’m laughing as I write this because of course, these are strategies my clients and I come up with. But there’s a more important piece to cover first: what it means to love yourself and why it’s so important.
I started my life coaching career bright-eyed and bushy tailed. All I wanted to do was make a difference in people’s lives and I truly believed that the power of positivity was the answer. Little did I know I was about to be shown that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
Just as things were starting to pick up in my career, my life was rocked to the core. My partner of many years had come home and told me that he’d decided he no longer wanted to be together. I was absolutely crushed. To add insult to irony, while I had just made a commitment to showing others how to create their dream life, my life as I had dreamed it was over. I was heartbroken.
Starting from scratch, and barely able to get out of bed, I found myself constantly swaying from deep sadness to disbelief. Being a positive person, unable to access positivity was a place I had never known. For a long time I fought it. But then one beautiful evening, I simply gave in. Having the knowledge that we have all the answers and are connected to a power far greater than ourselves, I decided to ask a question that would change my life:
“Why didn’t he love me?”
“Why don’t you love yourself?”
If I hadn’t had been laying horizontal with kleenex in my hand, my jaw would have dropped to the floor. I was shocked and all I could think of was, “Holy S**T, you’re right.” I had cloaked my whole life in so much positivity, I had been using it, as well as other things in my life to either hide my feelings of insecurity or prove to myself that I was loveable. From that moment I decided that I would do everything that I could to truly love myself, without the confirmation of anyone or anything around me. That moment, that decision, that circumstance, turned out to be the greatest thing to have ever happened to me. Through all the ups and downs of overcoming heartache, learning to love myself was the thing that healed me.
The Real Self-Love Cure:
1. ACCEPT YOUR WHOLE SELF: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
Loving yourself means means loving your WHOLE self. Just like how one vows to love another in sickness and in health, true self-love isn’t just about loving the good parts of ourselves, but also loving the not so positive sides as well. Honour the qualities that make you who you are and be tender with the parts of you that need softness.
If you reject your ‘darker’ feelings (like sadness, anger, or insecurity) then you are rejecting a part of yourself. To be human is to have EVERY part of the human experience. Just like you would soothe a child, give kindness, instead of judgement to the parts of you that need it most.
2. KNOW THAT YOU ARE THE SOURCE
Yes, the things we have, the roles we play, the loved ones in our life are all beautiful reflections of our love and deservability, but if we’re not careful, we can attach our whole worth onto things that exist outside of ourselves. This is problematic as we can disconnect from ourselves when our focus is outward, and loose touch with our power. Then, when something gets taken away (a job, a relationship) we feel empty. The truth is WE ARE the limitless source of all that you wish to experience. We just need to connect to it.
3. LISTEN TO YOUR NEEDS & DESIRES
You are incredibly wise, powerful and intuitive. You know whether you’re being true to yourself or not. If we’re not using our voices, listening to our needs, or honouring our desires, we become numb to our feelings of worthiness because we are ignoring ourselves. Start to listen. What is being called out for you? What do you want more of in your life? Where do you need to be honest? What needs nourishing? Act on it. You will show yourself you matter because you’re listening.
4. FEARLESSLY FALL IN LOVE WITH YOURSELF
Seriously, if I could punch society in the face for one thing, it would be suggesting that thinking ‘highly’ of yourself or being confident is arrogant. Being arrogant makes you arrogant, not you loving yourself. Loving yourself means that you completely value who you are. And if you value who you are, you show up in the world at your best. If you show up like this, everyone (your family, your kids, those you impact, your colleagues) benefit from this. The world is literally a better place when you love yourself.
So, fall back in love with you. Have the same enthusiasm in your relationship to yourself as you would with a new love. Take yourself out on a date. Get to know what you like. What could you find sexy about yourself? Talk to yourself in a loving manner. Be playful and have fun.
On this Valentine’s Day, commit to putting your relationship with yourself first. Because the truth is you matter, you are worthy and you deserve to experience how truly amazing you are.
Loving and believing in you,