I think it’s a question we ask ourselves far too infrequently, if ever at all. Loving ourselves can sometimes seem like an impossible feat, especially on the days when all we want to do is criticise ourselves and fall into a hole of self hate. I may preach self love on the regs but that doesn’t mean I find it easy to practice. But that is exactly what it takes: practice. We have to train our brains to look for the good instead of just seeing our flaws. To recognise at least one positive amongst all the negatives. Self-love is the complete opposite to self-judgement, and it offers an escape from the guilt, the unworthiness, and the general feeling of not being “enough” in our day to day lives.
So what does self love mean to me? To me, self-love is:
- Finding time to connect with my yoga mat, whether it’s 5 minutes or an hour, even if it’s just to breathe. This is my way to let go of all the anxiety I’m feeling and find a sense of calm.
- Reaching out to other people when I’m struggling. It may not be the number #1 thing I want to do in the moment but I know it’s the best thing for me.
- Choosing to have a day off from the gym, and going for a walk or even just staying in bed.
- Allowing myself to eat, even on my worst body image days.
- Going for a run.
- Making time to read.
- Blogging, because sometimes that is 100 x easier than talking.
- Making time to see the people I love, because no matter how much I’m juggling, that should always be the number one priority.
- Wine. Self-love always = wine.
- Making sure I get enough sleep.
- Drinking gallons of water.
- Not letting my life be defined by numbers. For years and years I obsessed over the number on the scale, calories, macros, the size of my waist etc. and it pushed me further and further away from self love.
- Appreciating my body in my natural state, rolls and all. EMBRACE THE SQUISH.
- Slowing down. Knowing it’s okay to do absolutely nothing.
- Recognising my own worth beyond my weight and the way that I look.
- Appreciating what my body can DO rather than what it looks like.
- Letting myself be loved and knowing I am worthy of this love. When I was in a bad place with myself, my body, food etc. I constantly wondered how anyone could possibly see through all the flaws. As cheesy as it sounds it’s true what they say with “how can anyone else love you until you love yourself?” And now when I struggle I try to see myself through his eyes and get a completely different view of the situation. It’s all about perception.
- Letting myself have a lie in, or a lazy morning watching shitty TV and eating pancakes even when I have a million things I could be doing.
- Most importantly, for me self-love is about unconditional acceptance. Complete and utter acceptance of who I am, and showing myself kindness and compassion through all the negatives, the flaws, the “I’m not good enoughs”.
For a lot of us, there is a lot of work to do until we get to that place of complete acceptance and self love, myself included. Self love is not selfish or vain or narcissistic – it is empowering, nurturing and it helps us to thrive in the world. So what does self love mean to you? You can write it down, tell someone close to you, share it on social media, or think about it in your own brain. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just make the commitment to practice, and see how your life can transform. You are worthy of love, and most importantly you deserve to take up space in this world.
Lots and lots of love,