Self-love may have received bad press stemming from some religious concepts on love and service, as well as possibly having the negative connotations that may come from looking at it as a selfishness or being wrapped up in ourselves. We live in a world where we can see how self-interest has created division between rich and poor, influenced wars , created ecoligical problems as well as heart break in relationships and communities. We have seen too what happens when someone gives too much to others and neglects their own life. Resentment may build up, progressing to burnout or illness.
The dictionary definition of self-love is, “the belief you hold that you are a valuable and worthy person. An example of self love is when you have a positive view of yourself and are confident in yourself and your place in the world.”
Faith my mentor at a young age often said “Mary give from the overflow of your life. Keep your own cup filled up then give from what overflows.” To a friend Ann who gave much to her children she would say “Ann take care of number one, then you can truely care for your children.” “Being able to say no is an important as saying yes “
Below are some of my tips for developing a healthy relationship with self
Explore your essence. Exploring your essence opens you up to the magnitude of your being. Taking time to reflect and search the soulful nature of being builds intuition and assists in making courageous life decisions. When you explore your deep self, it can take you on a learning journey, letting go of limiting belief patterns and embracing new thoughts, feelings and passions.
List your achievements. My life coach gave me an exercise recently, to pen a list of my achievements, starting at age 0-5, then 5-10 and so on. He asked me not to censor, but to write what comes to mind. I was especially touched to see what I achieved at tough times in life. It’s a good exercise too for silencing the inner critic!
List what makes you happy. Gardening, singing, cycling, playing with kids, being with horses, having a massage, being a good friend to others, hosting dinner parties, quality time with my love, solitude time with self and are a few are on my list. When your list is complete, make sure to input them into your daily/ weekly/ monthly life.
Take time to be alone. This is quality time for practicing self-love. Do not get busy texting or viewing social media sites. Listen to favorite music, have a tea, relax back into yourself. Sing, dance or stretch your beautiful body. I love to practice Yin Yoga in solitude times. This summer, sit still in nature and allow its beauty nurture you.
Love your body Treat it will nutrient rich meals, hydrating alkalinizing water, summer green juices, smoothies and salads. Oxygenate with deep loving breaths and stimulating exercises. It will love you back in so many ways such body vitality, mental clarity and ease of movement.
My understanding now is that one’s essence is love and joy. When you deeply connect to that in you and as you, you will love and enjoy others in a real way, avoiding becoming wrapped up in self. In fact, by prioritizing a connection to self-love produces in friendships and relationships empathy, authentic generosity and care.