Self Love

There’s the old saying that you can’t really love anyone else until you love yourself first. This is thought provoking for me on two levels. Firstly, I don’t think it’s correct, for example a parent can love their children intensely but not be so good at loving themselves. And secondly, the phrase implies that self-love is a stepping stone to being able to love others, rather than self-love being a goal purely in its own right. Anyway, semantics over. Whatever your personal belief system, self-love, in and of itself is the focus of this piece.

Self-Love – the attitude

Self-love, at its core is an attitude towards oneself, but why do so many of us struggle to develop that attitude? One of the biggest obstacles for many people, from my observations and experiences is having to work against the attitudes and beliefs that are ingrained in us from a societal perspective that often work in opposition to the concept of self-love. As women, particularly, although all genders or non-genders can experience this also, we are often taught to put others needs before our own, to not be ‘selfish’ and to give other people the benefit of the doubt, even if our instincts are telling us that this is not healthy for us. This invariably leads to feelings of guilt if we don’t follow these rules. And let’s just say, guilt and self-love are about as compatible as wearing a bikini on the top of Mt Everest is.

 So, in order to really practice self-love, which we all deserve to do, no matter what anyone else tells us, we need to make sure our attitude towards ourselves and how we move within society is one that supports us, and honours our needs, thoughts, feelings and experiences. And most importantly we need to instil in ourselves the belief that we deserve it – we deserve to focus on loving and nurturing ourselves and we are allowed to make that choice.

 This can, however, be really hard to do, as it’s no easy feat to retrain antiquated, destructive thought patterns that stand in the way. And then of course the ebb and flow of life can often throw things up for us that challenge this belief too. So, it’s important to remember, that yes, in an ideal world, it would be constant, and we’d be walking around all the time being beacons of self-love, but in reality, these feelings are fluid, and vulnerable. So, it’s imperative to remind yourself that it is not a failure if you go through a bad patch. It doesn’t mean you have failed, it doesn’t mean you don’t deserve it, it just means that you're human and our worlds are constantly evolving and changing.

 Because feelings of self-love can be mutable and impacted by a plethora of external influences, it is important to prioritise rituals and habits to support a belief system of self-love.

 To help everyone along the way, I’ve just put together a little list here of some of the activities that people have shared with me that they use to either develop, maintain, or reconnect with that loving place within themselves, for themselves.

Self-love activities

  • Reconnect with yourself through spending time in nature, quiet all the noise and let peace wash over you and fill your mind instead with loving thoughts.
  • Meditating and focussing on the breath, create the space to allow healing for those parts of you that might need it, let go of the things that don’t serve you, and honour your own light.
  • Carrying or wearing crystals or things that are symbolic to you. We can’t always avoid life’s stressors, but by having something tucked in your pocket that can give you the extra boost you might need can have a supportive and protective function. Your instincts will often guide you on this. For example, rose quartz can support a loving, soft and warm environment, Labradorite is excellent for potentially challenging situations and can provide a shield against negative energy, or clear quartz which is fantastic for clearing blockages and negative energy bringing light and clarity.
  • Surround yourself with beauty. It might sound simple, but providing yourself with a beautiful environment can reinforce feelings of worthiness and help connect with both the beauty within and without.
  • Express gratitude for the positive things in your life  and remind yourself that you deserve this good stuff . Often when I do this I automatically tend to smile which also has the added benefit of triggering physiological changes such as the release of endorphins and serotonin which are essentially feel good hormones

 Set Boundaries

Personally, I have been through times where I haven’t felt very good about myself, or treated myself very well, and allowed people and events to erode my sense of self love and self worth. Through these experiences I found, as have many others, that on the journey to a place of self-love, and maintaining that feeling, setting boundaries is imperative. It is okay to make the decisions about what you will and won’t accept, and to honour yourself every day, by not allowing those boundaries to be broken by anyone, or anything. And if they are, give yourself permission to step back and walk away. If your instincts are telling you something, listen, and look after yourself.

But, ultimately, it doesn’t matter how you do it. Find what helps you connect with you, and nurtures the beautiful soul you are, and then just make sure you remind yourself of it, often.

Much love to you all

Judi X

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