No, this post is not at all about Justin Bieber, but he does have a song that talks about loving yourself, so…
- Who are you with 100% of the time?
- Who do you know inside and out?
- Who directs all of your thoughts and opinions?
- Who do you listen to the most?
- Who have you known the longest?
It’s YOU silly. You have got to LOVE that silly person.
As if you didn’t know – February is the month of l.o.v.e. Like it or not. Valentine’s Day is a day of the year totally focused on LOVE and making time for the one you adore the most. But I think before any of that can have real meaning – we have got to first love ourselves. It’s not possible to give away something you don’t even have. If you don’t love or even really like yourself, how can you give that to someone else? Yes, you can still ‘care for’ and ‘take care of’ your loved ones – but can you love them well?
When you become a parent you learn all about selfless love. Parenting is wholly sacrificial. You sooth a crying baby in the middle of the night when your body and mind are so tired you can barely function. You drive children anywhere and everywhere they need to go, you pack lunches with sweet notes when your day and brain are already overflowing. It’s natural, unselfish affection and nurturing that you don’t even question. We were built to love our babies in this way. It is instinct at its rawest form.
With romantic love, we learn about give and take. Our hearts desire this romantic love and partnership. Sometimes it feels like a fairytale and sometimes it feels like the fairytale got seized by the villain. We have to navigate the uncomfortable waters of compromise and sacrifice in a totally different way than we do for our children.
There are tried-and-true models, examples, articles, books, and movies about romantic love and parenting… but where oh where are we ever taught how to love ourselves? Self-love is rarely even on most people’s radar. Fortunately, in 2018 are becoming more aware of it. Do you need to learn more about how to love YOU? We could all do this better.
I have seven points (in no particular order) that I think could help in tackling this SO very important self-love thing.
One: shut yo mouth
Don’t be your own worst enemy. Just stop. What are you telling yourself? Would you talk to anyone else like you do yourself? Would you tell your children that they are lazy, unlovable, not thin, not beautiful, not fit, not smart, not witty, not talented, not focused, not diligent, or good enough? Would you tell your best friend this? NO! And if you would, you are a bad person. No really, you are (j/k). Start talking to yourself like you would to one of your children, your favorite family member, and your very best friend. Why do you tell yourself terrible things? STOP IT RIGHT NOW! You don’t deserve that kind of trash talk. You are fearfully and WONDERFULLY made! You are the one and only you! Please, love that about you! We tend to overlook everyone else’s flaws and mess-ups. Why do we criticize ourselves so much?
Two: Stop seeing what’s not there
I try to see the best of what’s in me and I do that for others too. I try not to waste time focusing on what I’m doing wrong. I celebrate my own successes. I celebrate the success of the people around me because when we celebrate others, we get lifted up by default (win-win). Love yourself enough to admire, compliment, celebrate and lift-up those around you with no fear of you being ‘less than.’ It’s not a competition! Don’t spend your time focusing on what you do not like about yourself. You have got to focus on the good stuff. I promise, when you start affirming yourself, you’ll want to share the love with others. It goes against the grain of a negative society. Go ahead, be a rebel! Be weird!
Three: Clean up
This is more therapeutic than you would expect. Cleaning out your closet will not only help you declutter, but could positively affect your mind. Getting rid of old things will make room for new things to come into your life (in reality and symbolically). Clearing your mind can sometimes work in the form of letting go of ‘things’ like clothes, shoes, and jewelry. Don’t chase and hang on to what’s already happened; love yourself enough to know that the best version of you is yet to come.
Four: What is your happy place?
Where is it totally easy to just be you? For my mom, she says her happy place is with her grandkids. She can play pretend, laugh, focus on them and only them. For my husband, I would say it’s in the woods hunting. He can just BE himself and lean-in to the project at hand. For me, I can be myself and push myself with hot yoga. I don’t need to work at enjoying it, I just do, and I am totally engaged in the moment. Writing is another one for me. I am just flowing and it’s a part of me. There is no obligation to do these things, it’s out of desire and a magnetic draw.
Where can YOU do this? Is it sitting quietly? Reading? Running? Singing? Praying? Playing? Where can you genuinely embrace the here and now? No thinking about what’s due at work, your laundry, or what you need to get at the grocery store. You owe this happy place to yourself. Find yours. What brings you joy? Follow that. Loving yourself is all about connecting with YOU and one of the easiest places to do that is your happy place.
Five: Pay attention
Pay attention to what you’re paying attention to. What are you talking about or listening to friends talk about? What kind of music do you listen to? Are there negative or destructive lyrics? Be honest. Do you watch the evening news? Talk about a downer. Geez. Once a negativity has entered your mind – it’s stuck there, taking up space. Don’t open your mind to it! If what you pay attention to, listen to and watch are not positive and uplifting, then don’t expose yourself to it. I am not saying live under a rock. I am saying BE aware of what enters your spirit. YOU are the only one who can control that. Make sure what you pay attention to lifts you up.
Six: Take care of your one and only temple
You don’t get a second chance to live this life in the body you were given. Treating your body like its precious will definitely upgrade your level of self-love AND will also boost your energy. Be intentional about what you put into your body and do it because you want to FEEL good (looking good is great, but feeling good is the best). Feeding your body fuel with nutrient-rich whole foods will have you radiating love. It’s incredibly empowering and you can’t help but share the love. We were made to thrive – not just survive!
Seven: Explore your spirit
Faith is the foundation for self-love. Believing in a higher power opens up your soul to believe, trust, faith in the unseen, and peace. It will build your easy confidence and help you make decisions based on a quiet nudge. When you explore your heart and your faith it will also take you on a journey to learning things about yourself like new thoughts, feelings, passions, and raw emotions and will make you appreciate yourself for being exactly who you were made to be.
First and foremost, you have to replace the lies with the truth. God’s word is full of information about your real identity and position as a believer. Let God’s perspective on you soak in a bit. Do you fully realize what it means to be fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), precious to God (Isaiah 43:4), cared about since your conception (Isaiah 46:3), God’s child (John 1:12), a friend of Jesus’ (John 15:15), chosen by Jesus (John 15:16), loved dearly (John 16:27), totally freed from condemnation (Romans 8:1), a dwelling place of God’s Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16), and redeemed and forgiven of all your sins (Colossians 1:14)? Do you even KNOW how much you are loved?
Take time to soak in the seven tips to loving yourself. You say you don’t have time? Make time! Before helping the passenger next to you with their oxygen mask first put your own mask on. You know why? Because you’re going to pass out if you don’t and then you’re no good to anyone.
So, go ahead, love yourself this Valentine’s Day – and the other 364 days a year.
Keep on pursuing pure, xoxo