I started writing this post back in December, when I was working on my goal for 2016. I eventually decided on a single word to guide my spirit for the year, because a word is simple and focused. However, I never found the courage to share the word that I chose, because sharing it would make me feel vulnerable. I was afraid of judgment.
Fast forward 4+ months. I hadn’t written on my blog since. I was feeling defeated by my fear of being vulnerable, and I was also feeling confused about the purpose of my blog, which is something I have struggled with ever since I created my first blog. After gripping over this for months, I’m finally feeling brave. I’m feeling like me, and I’m saying, “To heck with it!”
I am daring to open up and share my word. As you might have guessed from the title my word is:
Self-love: noun, regard for one’s own well-being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable rather than narcissistic characteristic).
Hey Google dictionary, I think you’re really great. I truly appreciate that extra bit of love you tossed into those parentheses, because that is exactly what I was fearing, that I would sound narcissistic or selfish. You’re right; I shouldn’t feel bad for focusing on self-love this year. And just because I’m focusing on loving myself, does not mean I will neglect loving others (another concern I had). I need self-love.
Why Did I choose Self-Love?
I went through many words before I came upon self-love. Eventually all of my considerations came down to self-love as the root. I need to love myself, and in turn, I can better myself – Mentally. Physically. Spiritually. – and I can better my relationships, interactions, and the world around me.
The age old saying goes something like you need to love your self before you can (or maybe should) love someone else. Well let’s revive that quote and spin it for 2k16:
You must practice self-love – for yourself, for others, for the soul of the universe.
(Because heck yeah, I’m all about that universe soul.)
Why Do I Need Self-Love?
Sometimes I am a self-hater. I look in the mirror and allow my mind to whisper insults to all of the flaws I see and feel. In a group setting, I allow myself to think people will not care what I have to offer or if I do speak up, I will sound dumb. I compare myself to others and don’t give myself any credit.
A major thing I have learned about myself over the years is that I am a worrier. I’m a soul who cares for others, for their feelings and well-being. I’m what you call a people-pleaser, and this means I care a lot about what people feel and think. There is a thin line between caring about people and caring too much about what people think, especially when it pertains to yourself. And most often, I’m on the wrong side of that line. I worry too much about what others think of me, and I take it to heart, which is not okay.
Deep down I know that my ideas, opinions, and values all matter. It’s just hard to bring those feelings up to the surface.
The flip side of the coin is that all this time I thought I was showing myself love, but what I’ve been doing isn’t love. I thought self-love was everyday partaking in the Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle “treat yo self” motto. I thought massive midnight food runs when I was feeling down was loving myself. I thought it was lazing around for an entire Saturday in pajamas and binging Netflix. I thought self-love was allowing myself to wallow in self pity as I read about the progress of other women my age. To me, self-love was doing whatever made me happy or content in the moment.
I was wrong.
I’ve shifted my thinking and redefined self-love in my own terms.
What is Self-Love to Me?
Self-love is taking care of yourself–of your body, mind, and soul. It’s opting for healthier foods and getting your booty to the gym. Truly loving yourself is allowing yourself a piece (or two ;)) of chocolate instead of an entire package of cookies. It’s being productive, but it’s also pushing off chores a little longer so you can lay out in the sun and read a book on a glorious morning. Oh and you probably guessed it, self-love is taking the time to blog.
Self-love is being thoughtful and being kind to yourself. It’s buying yourself flowers. It’s definitely not denying compliments from others and for sure complimenting yourself. It’s writing a love letter to yourself on the daily.
Loving yourself is waking up, smiling at yourself in the mirror, and dabbing on a bold lip stain before you leave a little early for work so you have plenty of time to enjoy your commute. It’s saying, “Hey, you worked really hard today, why don’t you catch up on the latest shenanigans of New Girl,”… with ONE episode, not an entire season.
Self-love is taking the time to get to know yourself, your mannerisms, your beliefs, your strengths, your weaknesses, your good AND bad habits. Self love is squeezing in extra effort to improve those weaknesses and bad habits. It’s acknowledging them out loud and having conversations with your loved ones about your intentions.
It’s honoring and speaking aloud about your strengths and sharing them with the world. Self love is patting yourself on the back, cranking up the Beyonce after a long day, and getting silly, because *high-five* you’re awesome.
Self love isn’t easy. It takes courage and a heap of hard work. But it’s my word; it’s my mantra for the remainder of 2016. Follow me to keep up with my journey on learning how to practice self-love.