If you had asked me when I was in my 20’s if I loved myself, I would have said yes, absolutely, and I probably would have looked at you like you had three heads. Of course I loved myself. Why wouldn’t I? I would have likely answered the same in my 30’s and throughout my 40’s. However, as I pause to reflect back over the past few decades as I get closer to the end of this decade, I am humbled to realized how little love I have shown to myself over the years. The negative self talk, the crazy diets, poor lifestyle choices, tolerating abusive behaviour from a partner…. and the excuses I made for all of it! Ugh! None of it equated to self love. This has led me to really ponder the concept of self-love… what it is, what it means, and how we demonstrate this to ourselves and to the world around us.
What I have come up with is that self love looks different for everyone and is more than a yes or no, do or don’t. I believe that as we chronologically advance (because I hate the word age) we can grow our love for ourselves and learn to express it in a multitude of ways. It is a development that occurs. It comes from accepting ourselves and releasing judgement. It is something that no person can identify completely in another. What is self love in one person may very well be self hatred or self sabotage in another. It comes down to the individual’s intention. One person may eat a restricted diet because they hate their body and want to lose weight or they may eat the same restricted diet because it is truly what’s best for their body and it provides optimal nourishment for that person’s individual needs with or without the weight loss component. Exercise for one person may be a compulsion that comes from self-loathing or from a desire for a healthy strong body coming from a place of self love. Whether it is food, exercise, lifestyle choices or the thoughts one has, only the individual knows the true intention behind the choices that are made.
When I consider self love and if I am expressing love to myself, I simply ask myself “Are my thoughts kind and compassionate?” “Is what I am feeding myself nourishing my body with what it truly needs?” “Am I moving my body enough to keep it healthy and strong?” “Am I providing my body the opportunity for adequate rest?” “Am I surrounding myself with people who I feel good being around?” If my answer is not “yes” than I have some reflecting to do. Over the years I have given up the excuses I had created that supported my inability to love myself in a way that I was not wanting to see and have taken responsibility for my thoughts, actions and choices. I no longer eat in a way that is harmful to me. I exercise when I should and relax when I need. I surround myself with incredible people and choose experiences that nourish my soul. I do my best to love, honour and respect this vessel I call my body and all that it does for me. Oh… and did I say that I gave up the excuses? (Yup – that was a big one!)
As this beautiful new year begins, may you step forward into 2019 with the intention of loving yourself a little more each and every day. May self love guide your choices so that you are the happiest, healthiest and strongest on all levels (body, mind and soul) that you have ever been.
From my heart to yours, I wish you the gift of self love… and a laughter, love and blessing filled 2019.
Hugs & Love,
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