Self-love – you hear it everywhere nowadays and for good reason. It’s the most important love there is! After all, without it, you cannot truly love anyone else. Learning this a few years ago, tons of lightbulbs started going off, and I knew it was something I needed more of but didn’t really know what it was.
Finding the meaning.
Before I learned about what self-love truly meant, I thought it was a conceded concept. To talk about all the things you love about yourself? Geeze, give me a break… But then I realized, through my yoga practice, that it is not about your appearance or size. It’s about who you are, and how necessary it is to love yourself with an open heart. When you approach it that way, there is nothing conceded about that!
What It Means For Me
For me, self-love means to accept and love myself for exactly who I am. That means through all the lows, regardless of how I look, and despite things that I’m not proud of. It’s unconditional and non judgemental. My self-love is doing my best to show patience, forgiveness, and trust in myself.
It wasn’t easy to act it out once I found what it meant, and it took a long time to get to where I am now. I still slip up and beat myself up for things that don’t matter but just do my best to reign it back in. That’s all part of it, though – showing myself support and compassion through good and bad.
Self-love means different things to different people.
When I began outlining this post, I wanted to see if some of my friends defined self-love in similar ways, and I even asked James to get a male point of view. I was excited to find we all had different answers, but they are certainly applicable for everyone.
Time & Actions
For one friend described self-love as giving herself time, which as a mother of two is not easy to do. Equally challenging for my other friend, a first-time mother, who said she defines self-love as doing things just for you. Both of these items are so foundational but can be the most challenging. How many times have you said that you were too busy to ____ – fill in the blank. I know I can be guilty of that! Then I think about the time I spend scrolling on Instagram and think maybe I could have used that time to do something just for me. Our time is so precious and should be consciously used in ways that lift us up.
As for another friend, she called out a change in her mindset and accepting that perfection doesn’t exist. Not in herself nor other people. Instead of putting herself and others in the previous narrow box of physical beauty, celebrating everyone for their uniqueness. She also defines self-love in regards to her health. Now viewing exercise to live a long, healthy life with the people she loves and moving past the physical aspects of it.
Lastly, I asked my wonderful fiancé how he would define self-love. It’s about being happy with what you have or change it if you’re not happy. There are parts of you that you can’t change that you should lovingly accept, but there is absolutely a level of control in most parts of you. He also said how it’s simply taking care of yourself and doing what makes you happy without worrying about what other people want.
Show the Love
No matter how you define it, you can see there are so many ways to view self-love. When it comes to how much we show it, though, about half said they don’t do it enough. It can be things big and small – being kinder to your body, an encouraging note to yourself to read each morning, making a healthier choice at dinner, or shutting down the phone for even a few minutes.
Start Right Now
You don’t have to wake up tomorrow or January 1st a different person or have a million resolutions that you might find hard to keep. If nothing else, I hope you can focus on making yourself a priority and amping up the self-love. Don’t wait for the new year or next week. Start right now. Take little steps everyday to improve yourself, be kinder to yourself, to love yourself.