Love. Love is an amazing thing. Everybody wants to be loved. It's our nature as humans to crave that warm, safe and accepted feeling of what it is to be loved. We are full of love and yet we give it mostly to others, not ourselves.
I am of the opinion that our soul is like a balloon. We try to fill it with all these "stones" that we think will improve our self-love. We shop for new outfits, shoes, face creams, etc. We fill our "balloons" with the temporary satisfaction of things, comments and likes on a good photo, etc. Not all of these stones are bad, but it will take much longer to fill that balloon as it stretches and becomes heavier. So what can we do to fill it up and not be so heavy? Air, right? What does the air represent you ask? It is what we tell ourselves. What we study. How we treat others (including ourselves).
So how do we get this air? How do we get self-love?
First, it starts with recognition.
When we realize that we can and should love ourselves is when we begin. We start to look for ways to turn negative thoughts into positives. We seem to be experts at putting the happiness of our loved ones before ourselves. We need to treat ourselves as we would a child, we want them to be healthy, so we feed them wholesome foods, we encourage them, let them take time to play, nap and go to bed early.
Have you ever felt so stressed trying to get everything done for everyone else, that you had no time for yourself? This is the type of thing we need to change.
I am a mom of two, a wife of one ;) and a business owner. Balancing everything on my plate can be extremely difficult and stressful at times. I am a "yes" girl. It is very hard for me to say no, because I don't like to disappoint. This is one of my biggest struggles. But, I've noticed that when I practice self-love and give myself 15 minutes of "me" time at least three times a day, I am recharged, more present and much more pleasant to be around. Every day I'm learning to put myself first. By choosing to make self-love a priority I am able to give my loved ones so much more. It's so important to remember that loving myself isn't a selfish act because it allows me to love others even more.
Now that we have recognized our lack of self-love how do we begin?
Let's start by writing down the things that we lack most of our confidence in. Then think of a better solution to work on them and write it down. For example, if you look in the mirror every morning and your first thought is how terrible you look; turn it around and start by looking at yourself and say out loud, "I love you." It's harder than it seems. If you can't even get those words out, then say it in your head then think of one thing you like about yourself. As you continue to add more positive self talk to your day, look at yourself 3 times a day and first think about the gratitude you have for your body. Are you thankful to have a healthy body? Are you thankful to have eyes to see all the beauty around you? Are you thankful to have your hair, no matter it's length or thickness?
Keep a journal near your bed and write a question to yourself to answer. It can be anything from "why do I go to bed so late?", "when will stop criticizing myself so much?" or "how can I manage my time better?" This practice is just a line of communication between you and your inner self. You are able, through this practice to receive guidance from your wisest self. You know what's best for you, always.
Once you finish your question, answer it by writing without thinking, without editing, without judgement of yourself. Write until you feel satisfied. Notice how you feel when you're done. You may feel lighter or relieved after talking to your wisest self with your concerns. Go back and re-read what you wrote. You may feel that you have found the answer to your question. If not, don't worry, it will come to you.
I promise you that the more you work on these exercises you will be happier and more grateful for yourself and what your body does for you. You have worth. Never forget that. You deserve to give yourself love... from YOURSELF. Learning and connecting with yourself will show just how amazing your are! This simple act of loving yourself and doing these exercises, in itself is an act of self-love.