3 different perspectives on self love…
Self love is one of those words that is used a lot in the world of healing and wellbeing – and for good reason. Loving ourselves fully is a powerful tool in the journey of life – but it is also one that can be exceptionally challenging.
In this blog we are looking a little deeper at what self love really is, and how to begin the journey to developing a stronger loving awareness towards ourselves even in a world that is very focused on ‘improvement’ over acceptance.
The following three things bring a slightly different approach to self care…
- Self Love standards
What does self love mean to you? What expectation are you placing upon yourself?
Asking yourself this question is a great starting point because so often, particularly at the beginning of our journey to greater self compassion, we have very high expectations of what it has to look like.
Are you aiming for the illusive perfect picture of what self love looks like on the internet? Or are you looking at the next gentle step? True self love invites us to meet ourselves where we are at – we can still grow and evolve – but we can also be accepting of where we are now. Setting ourselves standards that we might not meet straight away is just another way of giving ourselves a reason to criticise.
Define what self love looks like to you. Is it kinder thoughts towards yourself? Stronger boundaries? More acceptance of your body? Pick one thing you can gently explore and see it as a journey. If self love seems too difficult – can you begin simply with self like?
- Self Love during challenges
Self Love when things are going ‘well’ is simple – but when things are challenging and we are facing parts of ourselves that we don’t normally like to see – that is where the true self love begins.
Notice your language and your thoughts when you are in a difficult situation and see if you can meet yourself with kindness even if you don’t ‘behave’ exactly as you would like. Defaulting to more harmful language towards ourselves is a pattern, so if you can start to notice when you do it, you can begin to change the habit.
Awareness has to come before any shift in mindset, so practising mindfulness and observing when and how you are not practicing self love, will allow you to shine light on the areas of your life where you might be able to bring a more compassionate and self nurturing approach.
- Make sure you include emotional self care
Self Love and self care are different – but the two do go beautifully together. Self Care that truly nurtures you – whether that be time spent doing things you enjoy, taking rest, enjoying a massage or buying yourself a beautiful candle – is a wonderful place to start to build up a catalogue of ‘evidence’ towards yourself that shows you CAN be more loving, and the more we practice something, the more it becomes habitual.
However, if your self care doesn’t also include emotional wellbeing, you may not be fully reaping the benefits. Looking after your emotional health by honouring how you are feeling and nurturing your emotional needs is vital.
A lovely way to connect to this is to simply check in with yourself on a daily basis and ask yourself the following questions?
What do I need?
Have I met my emotional needs today?
If not, how could I meet them in a loving way?
It might simply be acknowledging that you feel sad, angry, anxious, restless or fearful. Honouring and being curious with how you are feeling is a radical act of self care and will help develop a stronger sense of self awareness AND ultimately cultivate more self love.
Remember that self love is a journey, and not one that happens overnight. Gentle, compassionate steps are the only way to truly create sustainable self love that will make a significant impact on your life.