Loving yourself is not measured by the amount of face masks you do, the warm cups of tea that you drink, the number of baths that you take. Not everyone has access to the 'consumer' aspects of self-love, so to say that it’s defined by the things that you buy would imply that not everyone can love themselves simply because they don’t have access to those outside resources. And of course, we instinctually know that that’s not true.
Don't get me wrong, acts of kindness to yourself are often completely fueled by love and are beautiful things that I myself do on a daily basis. But you can do a face mask and still scold yourself for the pimples on your skin. It boils down to raw intention. Self-love completely stems from within.
Self-love is how you talk to yourself when no one is listening. It’s the extent to which you accept yourself and all your emotions, body parts and quirks. It’s choosing to sleep-in instead of going to the gym because your body needs rest. It’s choosing to set your alarm for 6am to move your body in a way that feels good. It’s allowing yourself to sit on your couch all day to recharge, and not beating yourself up for what you “should” be doing. It’s eating a big salad because you love to fuel your body with plant-based foods. It’s eating a brownie and ice cream because it tastes damn good and pleasure is one of the greatest joys of life. It’s saying no to plans and to people that don’t make you happy, even if they used to. It’s supporting your body in its healing with both action and thought, knowing that your brain is listening.
Self-love stems from the deepest and most pure acceptance of yourself. It’s an attitude, a mindset that completely transforms the way in which you see the world around you, and the way you live your life.
I’m going to share a few practices that I do to simply reconnect myself with these feelings of acceptance, something that’s always there but gets clouded by judgments, fears and outside noise. These practices work for me in my own journey on this world, and I hope they help you too. But if they don’t, that’s okay! Find what works for you to help you feel in tune with your emotion, in awareness with your thoughts, and at ease with yourself:
The most important practice of all. Meditation is the act of cultivating awareness; awareness with our thoughts, our words, our actions. We’re not able to change the way we speak to ourselves if we aren’t even aware of how we do it. This practice is a constant state of ups and downs – it’s recognizing the impermanence of every single thing in this world, including life itself. It’s detaching from this idea that we are our bodies, that our bodies are us.
Get in touch with nature
Something that I honestly struggle with a lot in New York City. I really love it here, but I sometimes find myself looking up at the buildings and just thinking, what is this place? Nature is healing, grounding, rejuvenating. Even if it’s just mindfully feeling the sunshine on your face for ten seconds, it goes a long way.
It doesn’t need to be structured in any way. Let your thoughts flood onto the page knowing that they’re completely safe within the covers of your journal. I find that seeing my thoughts and emotions physically on the page allows me to see them for how they really are. I’ve also experienced great benefit in writing down small things each day that I’m grateful for, shifting my focus onto what’s going right instead of what’s going wrong.
Are you ever moving so quickly that you do something without even realizing + remembering it, like forgetting that you already filled your water bottle up and then you’re like, when did I do that? That’s simply a lack of awareness. I’ve noticed that often times when I wont allow myself to slow down is when I need to actually address something emotionally. It’s like my brain is doing me a favor by giving me all these things that I need to do so that I don’t need to think about anything that may make me feel unhappy. Slowing down can be uncomfortable. It can be hard. But one of my favorite quotes is, you can’t see your reflection in running water, only still.
May we all love ourselves more and more each day + spread that love to others