Self-love: the post-Valentine’s day edition

It’s been far too long since I shared a post here, so in honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share a little bit about the most over looked type of love, self-love.

Now, I am not going to tell you that I have this down.  In fact, I’m no where close.  This is a constant work in progress for me.  It’s funny really, because people tell me all the time that I come across as being super self-confident, when in reality, I’m the furthest thing from it.  Maybe I fake it well, or maybe it’s simply that we are all perceived by others in a completely different way than we perceive ourselves.  I have found that other people’s perceptions of me are much kinder than my own perceptions of myself (for the most part anyway), and this is exactly why we need to do a better job of loving ourselves.

Like I said, I’m no expert at this.  I struggle most days to be kind to myself.  I am definitely my own worst critic and I take that job far too seriously.  But in the end, the only person I can really count on to be kind to me, is me.  So how can we do a better job of that?

I have taken to keeping a journal.  I try to start out every morning by writing down who I am, who I want to be, and what I love about myself.  What I have to offer to this world is also on the list, as well as what I want accomplish in my life.  It reminds me why I get up in the morning.  And mostly, it reminds me to cut myself some slack and to love myself even when I’m having a bad day.  It also reminds me where I strive to go from one day to the next.  That direction helps me to stay focused on my goals; the big ones, not the small day to day stuff.  I’m talking about the big life affirming, feel good goals that drive our actions.  Goals like; raising two humans to be confident, kind, loving beings.  You know, the stuff that really counts.

This journaling has helped.  Of course, it doesn’t happen every single day because I’m human, and some days I’m just getting by.  This too could be something I beat myself up about, but why?  I don’t have to look for reasons to beat myself up.  Those reasons have a way of jumping out at me all on their own.  This is something I’m doing FOR ME, so I have to remind myself to forgive me when I screw it up.

Perhaps the sad part of this is that it’s much easier to forgive myself when I let ME down, but so much harder to forgive myself when I let someone else down.  Do you find that to be true for yourself as well?

So, how else can we practice self-love?  There are literally so many ways, but I want to focus on the ones that I think are most powerful.

  1. Saying no to something you don’t have time for, or don’t want to do.  How simple is that?  Just say no.  Not taking something on that you aren’t excited to take on is a very powerful form of self-love.
  2. Walking away from an unhealthy relationship.  Yeah, I said it.  If it’s not good for you, it’s hurting you.  To leave behind something that doesn’t serve you anymore isn’t selfish, it’s self-love.
  3. Allowing yourself time and space to think.  When my kids were little and I was a full-time stay at home mom, I would sometimes put them down for a nap early so I could have some quiet.  I felt tremendously guilty about it back then, but now I know it was self-love.  They were safe and I got the space I needed.  That was good for everyone.

So, how do you practice self-love?  How do you remind yourself to let the small things go?