Love Yourself! (A Special Valentine's Day Edition.)
What does it mean to love yourself? And is it different from self-love? I found myself asking this seemingly perplexing question myself lately. As I shared in one of my earlier blog posts, I am on a journey of self-acceptance or as I have discovered, a journey on learning to love myself.
So, what does it mean to love yourself? There are plenty of definitions out there but for me to really grab onto this, I had to figure out what it meant to ME. Here the definition I came up with:
Loving yourself is an unconditional love, appreciation, and acceptance of yourself. It means that no matter what, you will always love yourself with the same strength.
How is this different, if it is from self-love? I believe it is different. For me, self-love is the art of giving yourself love or taking in account your own health and well-being. What I mean here is taking time to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Doing acts of kindness for yourself; like a massage, or taking a long walk, praying, or reading a book and the list goes on, that is self-love. But loving yourself- I believe, goes much deeper. Loving yourself is going to the core of who you are. Today, I want to share with you the steps I am using to learn how to love myself.
1. Forgive yourself: Listen, we all have a past. We’ve all done things, said things, thought things that we wish we didn’t. On the flip side of that, we’ve all done things, said things, thought things that were great. The person you are today is here because of all that you have experienced in the past up to this point in time. So many times, we find ourselves beating ourselves up because of the past. The truth is, yes, you are a product of your past but your past doesn’t define you. Today is a new day and so is tomorrow. Accept that you are human. Embrace that you are a perfectly flawed individual. Forgive yourself!
What are some things you need to forgive yourself for? Make a list and let it go!
2. Realize your own beauty: You are not your hair, your eyes, your legs, or the funny way your tummy looks when you bend over. You are so much more than your physical body. I know this one is tough. It is for me. I am a work in progress.
I want to share with you one of my biggest a-ha’s around this. For a long time, I thought that by loving myself and my physical body meant that I was quitting my journey to losing weight and being healthy. When in fact it’s quite the opposite. See, loving myself means unconditionally loving, appreciating, and accepting myself no matter what. No matter what the number on the scale says. No matter what I think I look like in the mirror. No matter what that whispered voice says to me.
Loving yourself means realizing your own beauty for what is.
What does beautiful mean to you? How do you embody that beauty?
3. You choose! (This one could be its own blog post.) Loving yourself means knowing what brings YOU joy. Society and other people try to tell us what will make us happy. Money, a successful job, being married, having children. However, each of us has the power to choose our own joy. As a self-leadership coach, I work with my clients to create a life that means something to them on their terms. Did you catch that? A life that means something to them. Not what society thinks they should do or be. Not what their parents or friends think they should do. It’s your life and you get to choose.
What brings you joy? What do you want your life to look like? What does success mean to you?
4. Be you! I was recently talking with someone about being authentic. Being authentic is about being true to yourself. But what happens when you are being your true self and people don’t like you? You are not meant for everyone. There are some people you click with and some people you don’t. Here’s the thing. It’s not about you. It’s not for you to fix. The burden of responsibility lies with the other person.
I struggled with this one for years. For a long time, I would hear from my closest friends that other people thought I was unapproachable. See, I am a very direct person and I am not a super smiley person. It’s not that I’m not happy, I am just kind of a serious person on the surface. So, I could see how people would make that assumption.
For years, I worked on trying to soften up my exterior but here was the problem. It wasn’t me. I was trying to be something I wasn’t. Then it occurred to me one day. I have a close circle of friends. If I have this close circle of friends how did they make it past the “unapproachable” person I was supposed to be. In that moment, I realized that it wasn’t about me. Loving yourself means knowing that you will never have the love and approval of everyone you meet and that’s okay. Know that it doesn’t reflect anything about who you are.
5. Love yourself the way YOU want to be loved! The most important relationship you will ever be in is with yourself. You should learn how to love yourself first. The worst thing we can do to ourselves is *outsource (obtains from the outside, especially in place of an internal source) how we are to be loved to other people in our life when it should be coming from ourselves. Here’s the thing, we must first love ourselves the way we deserve to be loved before we can ever expect someone to love us that way.
You are the most important person in your life. You should treat yourself with love and respect. You should appreciate all that you are and all that you do in your life whatever that is. When you come from a place of love in yourself, you won’t accept anything less from anyone else.
Words of Encouragement
The journey to loving yourself isn’t easy and it takes time. It’s a marathon not a sprint. We have been taught from the beginning to think negative. Society has influenced our thoughts about who and what is worthy of love based on who we are, what we do, or what we look like.
Today, I want you to walk away knowing that 5 steps I shared with you can help you on the journey to loving yourself. It’s up to you to make the choice to take the first step on the journey to loving yourself.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Celebrate loving yourself!
As part of my journey to loving myself I have been incorporating yoga daily into my life. The practice of yoga is something that brings me great joy and allows me to be one with myself even if it’s just 20 mins.
Recently, I started a 30-day yoga challenge and I wanted to share the link with you. Yoga with Adriene is an excellent resource. She provides a lot of different yoga videos. The best part is they are FREE!!! Click here to check her out.
Part of what I do as a life coach, is help my clients be intentional and very clear about what they are looking for. I want to leave you with a few questions that will help you be intentional and clear about loving yourself. Please feel free to think about and journal should you feel led to do so:
What does loving yourself mean to you?
What is one thing you can do today to begin to shift the way you think about yourself?
What will it look like when you learn to love yourself?
If you are on or want to be on the journey to love yourself and you don't know where to start or what the next step looks like, I would love the opportunity to help you get started with a FREE one hour discovery session. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can send me a DM on Facebook or Instagram.