Self love is quite the popular subject right now. Pretty much every guru is telling you that self love is the ‘key’ to everything. They preach that it is time to stop being so hard on yourself, to let yourself indulge in self care. It is time to embrace yourself, warts and all.
With this, you may be conjuring up fragments of the advice you have heard about HOW to love you. You may be picturing yourself going to yoga class, sitting in a bubble bath, indulging in a beautiful meal. Sounds lovely.
But in reality, if you actually get yourself to DO any of these things, do you really end up feeling any better? Or does the following sound more familiar:
You go to yoga class, thinking about how you are not as flexible or strong or fit as the other people in the class.
You sit in your bubble bath worrying about all your past failings. About all the other things you could/should be doing with this time.
You eat the beautiful meal, shaming yourself for your bad food choices or how you are going to calorically make up for this dish.
More likely than not, you don’t even get around to doing these things for yourself, and then add that to the list of things you ‘should’ be doing, yet aren’t, and are thus failing at.
You get the picture.
The disconnect is this – self love is an INTERNAL thing. It has nothing to do with what you are doing on the outside. You cannot fake self love. You have to embody it. When you are truly in a state of self love, it will transform the way you move through the world, but more than that, it will transform your EXPERIENCE of the things you are already doing in your life. Self love is not bubble baths and buying yourself roses (although these things may be a natural byproduct of self love for you) but rather it is learning to EMBRACE who and what you are, in each and every moment.
Simply put, self love is not a self improvement modality. It is a self discovery and expression modality.
Cultivating true self love is simple – not necessarily easy, but simple. Here is a quick crash course to get you started.
Show Up For Yourself: Take a few moments a few times a day to tune in with yourself. To ask yourself how you are doing. To ask yourself what you are feeling. To ask yourself what you need from you right now. This may sound overly simplistic, but when was the last time you checked in with yourself, the way you check in with your best friends? When was the last time you really looked at what you NEED right now? Do you even know how to discern what you need right now? If not, fear not. This is a practice. Simply start checking in with yourself the way you would check in with someone you care deeply for in your life. Acknowledge that you exist.
Be Honest With What You Are Feeling: Rather than telling yourself you should not feel jealous, tired, critical, angry, sad, resentful or whatever it is that you deem ‘inappropriate’ feelings – make room for you to feel how you feel. Do not try to fix yourself. Do not try to talk yourself out of what you are feeling. Just show up, notice and make space. When was the last time you gave yourself complete permission to FEEL?!
Show Up For The Things You Are Doing: Most of us have those ‘bad’ habits that we run to over and over – like eating foods we know don’t make us feel our best, sitting for hours in front of the computer numbing out, staying up too late etc. When you engage in your ‘worst’ behaviours, I am willing to bet you do so in a way where you are checked out. You rush through the food, you scroll and scroll knowing full well you are not absorbing anything you are looking at – basically you do what you are doing, without REALLY doing it. Then you vow you will never do it again, beat yourself up, and generally feel terrible – which leads to the inevitable repeat of the experience. Instead of trying NOT to do your behaviour, or instead of shaming yourself, next time SHOW UP. Be there. Be with the food. Be with the scrolling. Let yourself off the hook, and fully engage in your behaviour. Don’t abandon yourself. You will learn SO MUCH about what you really want, what you really need, when you show up for yourself in this way.
In my next article, I am going to take all these practices up a notch. For now, implement what you can, and see what happens.
Ali Washington is a Spiritual Guide, Life Coach, Reiki Master, Holistic Nutritionist and Yoga Teacher who is here to support light workers in finding their truth and living from that place.
You can find Ali:
On Her Website: perceptiontrainers.com/
The Perception Diet: perceptiondiet.com/