Self-love is acting and speaking kindly towards ourselves, recognising our inherent worth and value and treating ourselves like the Queens that we are. To me, above all else, it is about being your best friend first; setting boundaries and protecting your wellness to make sure you don’t end up pouring from an empty cup. There may be a tendency to view this as self-centred, but in the crazy busy world of today, I believe it is essential to leading a healthy life.
But why is mastering the practise of Self-love so hard sometimes?
The habit of negative self-talk: Do you ever catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and think ‘ugh’ or call yourself a name? Such negative behaviour is constantly battering your emotions and will play a huge role in determining your mood. Is it time to work on changing your habit and swapping the negative, for the positive self-talk? Each morning, we have two choices. Choice one is to wake up and knock yourself down from the minute you look into that mirror. Choice two is to wake up and be kind to yourself. If your brain is going to believe the negative stuff you keep telling it, then it also has the power to begin believing the positive stuff you keep telling it too. Next time you notice yourself negative self-talking, ask yourself if you would speak to your best friend that way? Then change the message and keep challenging yourself until it becomes consistent.
Comparison: When we go on social media, we’re submerged in a different world, a staged world where it seems that perfection is a reality. “Comparison is the thief of joy” (Theodore Roosevelt). If you’re going on Instagram and it’s making you feel worse about yourself, then take a social media detox break or simply unfollow those people – much like in real life, you need to set boundaries online too.
Self-belief: Mastering the practise of self-love can be hard if you hold the belief you’re not worthy of such. I listened this week to an ‘Oprah: Super Soul Sunday’ Podcast with Tara Westover talking about her book ‘Educated: A memoir’ (I highly recommend listening). Tara had an erratic and very unconventional upbringing, she hadn’t stepped foot into a classroom until she was 17 and was abused by her brother. Tara had the worst possible opinion of herself and she only understood how to accept negativity. Despite all the trauma and abuse Tara was subjected to, somehow, she spectacularly found it within herself to change the trajectory of her life. Tara teaches that we’re not responsible for the feelings of others and only responsible for our own.
Diet Culture: We’re surrounded and submerged by diet culture, by ‘nip, tuck and swim’ swimsuits, by ‘body shaper’ tights and the thin ideals on the magazine covers. These things are unavoidable, the toxic messaging is everywhere we look. So how are we supposed to overcome it? Simply begin noticing it, once you do this, you can see what messages we’re being constantly fed by society. Then you have the choice to ignore them, to feel angered about them, to make a stand about them, but certainly not to take in their toxicity.
Striving for perfection– the perfect job, the perfect body, the perfect home, the perfect family…perfection doesn’t exist, be vulnerable instead. Brené Brown explains the power of vulnerability in her TEDx Talk, which you can watch here.