Covering yourself up with makeup, losing weight to look a certain way and wrapping yourself up in a dress that you see models in is not really self-love. It is presenting yourself to the world in some kind of a shell of who you actually are. Mind you, your binary brain now thinks that the opposite of this is not wearing makeup or not following fashion and that would be self-love. Not really, please wear all the makeup that you love, lose the fat only to fit into that dress..but the point I’m trying to make is that let’s stop defining that as self-love!
Untamed self love is not running around the woods naked; it is coming home to your own true nature.
What really is Self-Love?
Self-love is not just something you say, it’s something you do, feel, cultivate, nurture and experience; it’s a practice. So it’s not that after having a bad day at work where you didn’t allow yourself to speak you mind, simply to agree with your manager, but later you slap some red lipstick on, or take a bubble bath, or treat yourself to a spa…these are all self-care practices, not self-love. True knowledge is in identifying the difference between Self-Love and Self-Care.
Self-love is a constant and ever evolving thing which requires -
You read a blog, a book..you go to an amazing conference, you get all excited, you take all your notes..and then you go home and that notebook just ends up on a shelf you don’t really do anything with all that information, then why bother making the investment? So we are going to talk about a lot of actionable which we can really implement to get this self-love thing going.
The Big 5 that make up self-love
Their order is important too, because without acceptance there isn’t actually love. There might be something that looks like love, there might be 'like', but it’s not real deep love.
So what does Acceptance look like?
You need to forgive yourself..we all do things that we don’t like, and that can build up so much guilt. We must learn to forgive ourselves for the role that we’ve played in so many situations in our lives that are keeping us from self-love and from appreciating, honouring and recognising ourselves.
Use mantras! - they are just like a thought pattern interrupter. You have a choice when you start to get negative thoughts that spiral down into self-hate or self-disapproval; you can interrupt it and spiral it up with a mantra.
Mantra 1 – “It is safe for me to be me. It is safe for me to be here.”
And it could mean so many different things, depending on where you are.
Mantra 2 – “I am enough. I have enough. I do enough”
Which leads us to Respect/ Self-Respect. The highest form of integrity is to honour yourself. Sometimes we hear that integrity is “finish what you started” or “always be true to your word”. But honestly, I believe you can always change your mind. Sometimes we head down to get to a point where we realise that we have to change directions, and that’s why we entered that path in the first place, not to finish it all the way through.
How many of us have tortured ourselves for not finishing something that we started! That’s not Self-love. Let’s also talk about the relationship between compassion and tolerance. You go on a path of self-help books, spirituality and then use it to disempower yourself. That’s not self-love, that’s abandoning yourself. Which brings us to boundaries, you get to say no to things.
Say Yes when you mean Yes and say No when you mean No! That is a radical act of self love. You get to say no when the answer is no. And only say yes when the answer is actually yes. That is self-respect, that is self-honouring.
Next, Awareness – this is easier than you think because awareness starts with observation. And we humans are pros at observing. Only, we’re usually blasting it out on everyone else and observing what others are doing. So simply turn that skill that you’ve been honing your whole life in on yourself. Get really curious and start to observe yourself including those things that you don’t love about yourself. Pause, catch yourself in these moments and go “huh, what’s going on here?” So you become more aware of what’s at the root of those patterns. This way, you can know what you don’t know. The idea is to get to the place where you do know what you need to know.
Easy action to know yourself - pranayamas; just doing it once is going to help you observe a bit more and a bit better. You are allowed to take a pause, even while in a conversation with someone, you’re allowed to say “Give me a second”, focus on your breath, gather your thoughts, and then reply...don't react, reply...understand the difference between the two.
And that leads to Knowledge, because once you know what you don’t know, you could begin to really learn about yourself. Who are you? Like who actually are you? Not who other people have told you you’re supposed to be, not the role that you’ve been like moulding and trying to fit yourself into. What’s your truth?
Know that these things are fluid, they change over time, but always be tuned in with that. So know yourself! Here are some fun facts for you-
You are allowed to have standards.
You are allowed to write your own story.
You do not have to accept what you’ve been given.
In order to do any of the above, you need to know yourself. What’s ok with you and what’s not ok with you, what excites you, what doesn’t, and what changes from here on? Feel free to be someone different than you were yesterday. Reserve the right to change your mind, it doesn’t always please others, it does ruffle some feathers, but if it is true to you, then that is a radical act of self-love.
Finally, the crescendo -Trust. One of the biggest lesson around self-trust is to allow other people to have their own experiences. This is freedom! How many of you really try very hard to control everything? How much energy do you expend? So those of you who think you don’t have time for acts of self-love, if you actually just stopped trying to control everyone else’s experience, you would have so much more time that you wouldn’t even know what to do with yourself.
Couple of reflection questions for you
Where am I putting myself last?
What am I tolerating that I don’t want to?
Because you are and you should be just as important as everyone else in your life. You deserve all the attention and the love and all the things that you give to others so readily.
We live in a culture that is very instant gratification, we want everything yesterday. And Self-love is not the kind of stuff you get instantly, this is the kind of stuff you spend you whole life cultivating and it just gets better and better and you’ll relapse, and what will you do when you relapse – you’ll be kind to yourself, you’ll be gentle to yourself. These are all things we do for other people. Imagine talking to a baby or a toddler, you don’t go all crazy on them, so don’t do that to yourself.
Remember, everything you’ve ever needed is always been inside you. You are people too, the ones you treat so well and are kind to…you deserve equal time, energy, attention, and care.
Inspired by the words and works of Liz DiAlto