The words ‘Self Love’ seem to be doing the rounds at the moment don’t they? Whilst I’m all for self love and what it stands for, I feel like it’s being stretched and twisted into something totally different, something commercial, something to spend our hard earned money on. More and more we’re being told how to love ourselves in specific ways likes take a bath and light a candle. I love a bath and a candle as much as the next person, but for me that’s pretty surface based.
Every one of us is different, we love and receive love in varying ways, which begs the question, why are we not being ask how we’d like to be kind to ourselves? How would we like to nourish our souls? How would be like the to nurture the relationship with ourselves? After all it’s the longest relationship we will ever have. We’ve been there through thick and thin, we understand our choices, our beliefs and our values better than anyone else can ever understand them. If we take a little time to ask ourselves how we would like to show ourselves kindness we may be surprised.
Surprised at the ways in which we’d like to receive love and surprised in how giving ourselves that love can totally shift our outlook and mood. When we flip our feelings towards ourselves from negative feelings of dislike and disappointment to love and acceptance, in turn we have more love and acceptance for those around us, for the community we live in and the world we contribute to. It changes how we eat, laugh, dance, connect and live. It’s a tiny little snowball which gathers momentum and speed and turns into this huge avalanche.
Back in January I listened to CTRL ALT DELETE podcast episode with Jayne Hardy , as I listened all of the work I had been doing on self respect and development clicked into place. It totally changed the way I looked at being kind to myself. Jayne explained something so simple which I related to in the most relatable of relatable ways...that makes sense, right?! Jayne spoke about how she had worn really old, worn out slippers with holes in the soles for months during winter. If she had seen a friend or family members with slippers like this she’d go out straight away and buy them a new pair. This resonated so much with me because I hadn’t been wearing slippers at all, I eyed lovely cosy pairs up every time I passed the shop, in fact I had even bought a friend a pair of new slippers when I noticed they didn’t have any, yet because I deemed them “not a necessity” I didn’t get myself a pair. Living in Spain my floors are tiled, they are freezing in winter (surprisingly it gets very cold here in winter!) and I was walking around barefoot or in socks, for someone who has a chronic illness which is hugely affected by the cold, this is a big deal. But I didn’t connect the dots until I heard this episode. I was being so unkind to myself, not even wanting to spend a very small amount of money on something which would keep my feet snuggly warm and my joints from seizing up and being painful.
Other ways in which I have shown myself love and kindness over the past nine months are going to the dentist after putting it off for a year. Investing in good skin care and carving out time in the morning and evening to properly look after my skin. Saying no to invites from friends and family when I just don’t feel like going, when I’m in pain or completely exhausted. Sleeping more, going to bed earlier and waking up later. Taking a look at my exercise routine and changing it to a kinder, gentler practice of walking and yoga which still makes me feel really good but it’s a hell of a lot lovelier for my joints. Cleaning my home every day because it makes me feel calm and content. Taking time to sit quietly each day - I make a cup of tea and set a little timer on a meditation app, I just sit and focus on my breathing. Journaling instead of berating myself when I feel not quite right, jotting it down makes me very aware of my worries and concerns, where they are coming from. My self-talk has become kinder, when I catch myself getting frustrated or annoyed with myself, I change my tone of voice. I think about how I’d speak to someone I love dearly and channel that way of thinking and speaking.
Sometimes showing myself love means popping my to do list to the side, letting go of the guilt of not ticking off everything that day and getting an early night or watching something on netflix. I show myself love by cooking soul-filling meals and snacks for myself. I’m a feeder and sharing food is how I show love to others. I’m sure you’re thinking you’ve done that for years with your blog though? I have been batch cooking nourishing meals for years, you’re right, but not with the same intention. Before it was a means to an end, it freed up time in my week for my to do list and created content for my blog, I’d use ingredients which were a little pricier and end up with no food in my cupboards by the end of the month - that’s not really loving yourself is it? I was prioritising content for the blog over having enough food for the month. My intention has changed, I cook to feed my soul, to nourish my body and ultimately show myself a little love.
I invest my time in courses not to get a qualification but because learning lights my very being on fire. I enjoy studying, making notes and sharing my new found knowledge with others. I treat myself to books; non-fiction reads on nutrition, self-development and coaching but also proper chick-lits which warm my heart and give me all the fuzzy feels.
Right at its very core, self-love, being kind to yourself, appreciating and accepting yourself is all about intention. How can you intentionally show yourself you truly, unconditionally, love yourself?
Make a list and try to do something for yourself each day, it will soon become a habit. It may be washing and drying your hair, it might be going to bed half an hour earlier to read, it could be investing in a course or signing up to a class you’ve always wanted to take. It could be going for a walk in the park, leaving 10 minutes earlier so that you don’t feel stressed in getting to work on time. It might be buying a really lovely kind of tea to enjoy, cleaning your home or wearing your favourite socks. How will you intentionally show up for yourself today?