What is Self-Love to me?
Wow! Where to even begin? Let's go back for a bit! About two and a half years ago, I was going through a break-up, had moved to a new city - no friends, no co-workers, and was living in a studio. Never in my life had I been alone, like completely alone, by choice! Keep in mind I'm an only child! How crazy is that? I had always been in the presence of family, friends, a roommate, someone's dog... someone! Thinking back on it, it might've been something I unconsciously avoided not to feel "lonely," and I kept convincing myself that I was an extrovert and social and therefore could not be alone. Welp! What I avoided for years was now something I was experiencing every single day. The more days that passed, the more anxious, sad, and lost I felt, and if you know me, that is NOT who I am.
I decided to shift my perspective, dive deep into podcasts, and read self-help books to help me understand who I am as a person on a more independent level. The first time I heard the term "self-love" was through the podcast "Girls Gone Boss." Through this conversation, they highlighted the importance of dating yourself, knowing who you are, and loving on yourself before looking for love elsewhere. I am naturally a happy, positive, optimistic person, but boy, after six months of dating and loving myself, I had NEVER experienced a fuller, more joyful, and confident life. I was no longer looking for another person to fill my cup or be my "other half." Instead, I sought friendships and craved interactions based on their positive energy, how good I felt around them, and/or the knowledge and lessons they were able to share for me to become the best version of myself.
“If you're waiting on somebody to save you, to fix you, to even help you, you are wasting your time. Only you have the power to move your life forward." - Oprah, 2011
Fast forward to now, almost three years ago, I can say that Self-Love to me is:
To take action, not only because you love yourself, but also because you positively view your physical self and personality more assertively and confidently. You genuinely have respect for yourself and take full responsibility for your actions.
The way I like to divide a view on Self-Love is into 5 pillars: Mental Well-Being, Emotional Well-Being, Nutrition and Fitness, Relationships, and Time to Introspect. Each of these is crucial for living your day-to-day with intentionality and a much fuller and joyful life.
"Steph how did you even come up with these?" Let me explain and go into detail a bit more.
5 Pillars of Self-Love
Mental Well-Being: One of the most essential parts of Self-Love stems from our mental well-being! The voice of our internal narrative, or dialogue, is usually involved with an inner critic. It is vital to unpack WHERE that is coming from and WHY that is.
Rather than looking for ANY form of validation outwardly, this is the best opportunity you get to remind yourself how worthwhile and unique you are by challenging that inner critic and providing internal validation. A.K.A. Positive Self-Talk!!!
2. Emotional Well-Being: Similar to Mental, but emotions are ENERGY in motion. We experience them based on situations, memories, or past experiences. Emotions can change from ANY moment in time, depending on the actions, thoughts, environment (including any type of relationships), or even food you are eating. Instead of suppressing or avoiding them or dumping them on other people, it’s imperative to learn to know yourself as far as what triggers you and what makes you react not only toward other people but certain environments.
The moment we start digging deeper and learning WHERE these reactions are coming from, we gain power back. In psychology language... the right word for this is: Emotional Intelligence.
3. Nutrition and Fitness: Some people might not think of nutrition and fitness as a part of Self-Love. HOWEVER, how can we have the energy to love, work hard, and achieve our goals if we are not healthy? I want you to focus not on how you LOOK but how you FEEL! Let's talk about both in-depth:
Nutrition: Making healthy food choices and listening to your body is an act of self-love!
Fitness: I understand that cultural barriers or family constructs might not allow us to see past the beauty of the body that we are given. However, I would encourage you to look at your body as a GIFT – it doesn’t have a return policy or exchange! THIS is the beautiful gift we are given... so HOW are you taking care of it? Are you nurturing it? Or are you neglecting it? Now I’m not saying you can never drink alcohol, never have cake, BUT how are YOU going to create a LIFESTYLE, not a diet, to make sure you take complete control of your body and mind?
I want you to shift your mindset of working out from negative to positive. No more saying, “This is my punishment for eating a doughnut. It feels like a chore or an obligation.” Instead, start feeling motivated to work out because you tell yourself, “I get to be healthy, I will have more energy after it, and I get to listen to my workout playlist! Woohoo!”
4. Relationships: If you're like me, I would always prioritize my friends and family over myself. We are constantly pulling our attention to everyone except ourselves, and I hope starting today that changes a little. Make sure you know how to have a relationship with yourself over anyone or anything - You can't pour from an empty cup!
Also, keep in mind that Self-Love in Relationships is not only with yourself but also with people and money. For people: learn to speak up and communicate genuinely and honestly, trust your instincts, etc. For money: create a budget, raise your hand for help, start saving, etc.
5. Time [to Introspect]: For yourself!!! As I said before, I never enjoyed being alone, but the moment I started being comfortable with the uncomfortable of just being, introspecting, and FEELING what I felt, it created a whole path of uncharted territory. I would say two of the most important changes I made in this pillar of my Self-Love journey was:
1) Creating Boundaries, and 2) Daily Gratitude Practice.
Stay tuned for new blog posts for every pillar of Self-Love!
I am a true believer that the higher your Self-Love, the more self-respect, and self-worth you have. Not only that, but you start embracing your unique traits to begin living and being your true authentic self.
“It might not be easy but it’ll be worth it.”