As women, we are often so busy taking care of everyone and everything around us, that the last person we tend to care for is ourselves. We love and take care of our children, our husbands, our parents, our extended family, our friends, our coworkers, and social acquaintances. However, there is something that is very crucial to our health and well-being and that is “self-love and self-care”. When was the last time that you told yourself that you loved the person that you are? When was the last time that you did something just for yourself? Self-love and care should be something that takes a front seat in every woman’s life.
I personally learned about self-love many years ago when I was first out of college and trying to find myself and beginning my life journey as an adult. At the time I was going through a difficult time walking away from an abusive relationship while at the same time I was busy trying to take care of the people around me, and assisting with the care of a grandmother that was dying of Pancreatic Cancer. I was trying to make sure that they felt supported and loved. I was busy making sure that the people I loved weren’t falling apart, but I didn’t notice that I was losing myself in the process. During that time, a close friend of mine told me to love myself and to take care of myself. Take care of myself? Love myself? Aren’t I already doing those things? I’m eating, I’m sleeping and I’m working! I thought I was, but the reality was that I didn’t even know how. I had grown up in a world that was built on pleasing others and supporting others at all cost. I spent my life giving every ounce of love in my heart to the people around me without saving any piece for myself. In fact, it was and still is the core of who I am, a “selfless” person to put others first. But, I soon realized that I wasn’t the only one that dealt with a lack of self-love.
I realized that women, in general, put others first… that’s our God-given internal nature. As I started looking around at my close friends, I realized that none of us knew how to love ourselves properly. We practiced what we thought was self-love and taking care of ourselves. You know things like getting your hair done; having pedicures and manicures, etc., but in practice, none of us really knew that pampering isn’t the same as “self-love”. I think the saddest part was that none of us even knew where to start implanting self-love in our personal space. None of us really knew how to self-love, so we faked it the best we could. Think about it… We faked loving ourselves – Isn’t that just the craziest thing? We learned to mask it through shopping, pampering, going out, and having girl trips. Sadly, we were so busy seeking that love in others, and things that we stopped looking for it within ourselves, and that was our biggest mistake.
The real truth is that I’ve always felt a strong need to please others, to make others happy, even if it meant sacrificing my own happiness, mental health, and spiritual well-being. Also, I think a lot of my friends felt the same way. The fact is that we were all strong and resilient women, but yet when it came to loving ourselves, we fell short. As I’m maturing and growing in life I see the same pattern still exists in women today. We live in a generation full of women who don’t know how to love themselves properly. As women, we are beautiful, clever and capable, but somehow many of us have fallen to the deception and lies that society has ingrained so deeply into our minds that we don’t even realize it’s there. We are all worthy of love. But, that love doesn’t need to come from others and our worth is not defined by the love we receive or don’t receive from another human being, through things and/or accomplishments. We must unlearn the stigma of society and look within ourselves to find the love we truly desire. Think how it would be if we could have a do over if we could start from the beginning before our minds were filled with the need to please and the need to sacrifice. Good news… we can have a FRESH start and we can start today! Once we focus on self-love and are happy on our own, then we learn how to love ourselves without faking it, the rest of it won’t seem so difficult anymore.
Lastly, I want to encourage you to focus self-love in the following areas: Body, Mind, and Self-Trust.
As women, Our Body is our temple. It encompasses who you are and it should be honored by self-care and self-love. Yes, unfortunately, it will occasionally have a few aches and pains, and it will even try to tell you yes when the mind tells you no. But in the end loving yourself is to practice loving your body despite how you feel physically or emotionally.
1. Decided to be beautiful, confident, and remain grounded everywhere you go and in every situation. Embrace your uniqueness and your genes. Straighten your spine, open your chest, and stand tall in your skin. Focus on the entire core of your being. Purpose yourself to eat whole and healthy foods and eat them slowly. Drink plenty of water.
2. Do this for yourself. Only move in the direction that feels right to you. Choose to pursue interests that inspire, and fulfill YOU. Fall in love with you! Find a passion, hobby, place, or thing, or all the above on your own terms, at your own will, and at your own pace. Take care of yourself first, THEN and only then open your heart to the world.
3. Exercise. Do it because it doesn’t just make you look good, but it will also make you feel good. Your body works for you all day long, it sorts thoughts while you’re sleeping and beating blood through you while you wake. Decide to give back to your body – It gives to you twenty-four hours a day all year round every single year of your life.
Be kind to your Mind. Your mind deserves a life free of worry. When your mind is clear then you can be free to be who you were created to be.
1. Laugh at the little things. Don’t take life too seriously… will things happen to try to distract you from being in your happy place? ABSOLUTELY! However, you have the power to steady yourself through your thoughts.
2. Let go or be dragged. Things from your past and focusing on the “what if’s” of your future will forever drag you away from the now. Stay in the present! Love, Peace, and Joy are the goal. Be sure to get enough sleep, and meditation is a great practice to clear your head of those little pesky thoughts that trickle in from elsewhere that try to get you off course.
3. Get to know yourself and be true to yourself. Ask yourself questions, and look up, down, and around for the answers to reveal themselves. Study the person you are, and understand the way you move is built in your character and never let anyone alter that.
One of the most important steps in loving yourself and self-love starts when you identify your inner light and choose to let it shine. You have inner gifts, talents, and ideas that are unique only to you, and we all are guilty from time to time of letting out light dim because of the lack of trust that we possess.
1. Bring up your creative nature! Create all day long every day, any time. Sew, paint, write, paint, draw, design, illustrate, brainstorm, build, blog, etc. The world is your oyster and it is up to you to sculpt that shining and shimmering pearl. Go on… Get crafty and have fun. Take your big box of packed emotions off the shelf and let them loose on your blank canvas.
2. Dance! Dance! Dance! Dance in your office, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, or out on the town with your best friends. Stop living in fear of judgment, no one knows what you’re really about (truth is they don’t even know what they’re really about). Find your rhythm and flow in it
3. Sing a Tune! Sing in the shower, in the car, to your kids or to your pets if you must. But SING and do it from your soul and say each word as if the sound was laced with meaning. Make up a song or sing a hit song; it doesn’t matter as long as you are singing. Speak up! Don’t allow others to suppress your inner wisdom and knowledge. Cultivate sharing your opinions openly while accepting fully the perspectives of others.
Purpose to connect with self love through Body, Mind, and via Self Trust to fully discover your full potential. There is no stopping you! You are beautiful! You are powerful! You are loved!