It’s coming up to that time of commercial LOVE and whether we are a fan of Valentine’s Day or not we should take this opportunity to talk about self-love, what does it actually mean and why does it matter?
In most cases, we talk about it, try and practice self-care, but we often don’t really love and value ourselves. Self-love encompasses not only how you treat yourself but also your thoughts and feelings about yourself, it’s about treating yourself with kindness and respect, and prioritising your wellbeing.
It’s about taking accountability, recognising your feelings, valuing your strengths, asking for help, accepting that none of us are perfect ….
We cannot always expect to rely only on external sources for love and a person who practices self-love will never need to depend on others to be happy, it’s an empowering feeling to be happy on the inside.
An important benefit of self-love is better mental health. Practising self- love means you are less likely to suffer from anxiety or depression, it can reduce stress and encourage us to follow good habits rather than ones that are not serving us mentally or physically.
I invited several experts coaches and authors to share their view on self-love:
Jo De Rosa founder of Inner Guidance says…
Our natural state is one of love, for the heart doesn’t actually know how not to love. However, in western society we are taught to self-harm through substances, unhealthy relationships, and jobs that do not light us up.
When there is self-love
There cannot be self-harm
‘When there is one, there cannot be the other and each moment is an opportunity for either. So, we are choosing every second the outcome that we believe is of most benefit in that moment. This is one of the biggest revolutions the western world is undergoing right now, in my opinion, as we begin to fundamentally change the way we view ourselves. For we have been taught up until this moment in time that ‘loving yourself’ means that you are over-confident, cocky and arrogant. We have been trained to NOT love ourselves and to put everyone else BEFORE ourselves, otherwise we are selfish, apart from when we get on a plane and are told to put the oxygen mask on ourselves FIRST before even the very young.
We have even coined a new term for this; rather than ‘loving yourself’, in the new age, we ‘self-love’.
See what we did? We changed the two words around! Because the connotation of ‘loving yourself’ holds so much negative conditioning, whereas ‘self-love’ means something totally different. We are in a new age for sure, one where we are ALLOWED and encouraged to look after ourselves, where we KNOW that we cannot give from an empty pot, and we have so much MORE to offer when we are fulfilled first ourselves’ Jo De Rosa .
Self-love is natural and we’re created lovable. Yet most of us have learned not to like ourselves or think that our being loved is conditional on us behaving in prescribed ways. Some of us have even learned to believe that we are sinful are worthy of being hatred rather than being loved. Undoing self-judgement is, in my experience, one of the biggest jobs many of us have to do. Find people who are able to enjoy you for who you are not just what you do for them. Validate to yourself that you are loveable, right now. It’s a process of recovery. Developing the habit of treating yourself more kindly will you lead to liking and even loving yourself.
Nick Williams, author of 18 books www.iamnickwilliams.com
Loving yourself is one of the hardest things to do. Often the feeling that we are an imposter gets in the way of self-love. We feel that one day soon we will be found out for who we truly are: not a nice person, not a clever person. It’s estimated that 70% of people feel like an imposter at least some of the time. Maya Angelou has written: “I have written 11 books, but each time I think, ‘Uh-oh, they’re going to find [me] out now.” But stop. If you feel you’re an imposter and people don’t know, it means you are very good at one thing – being an imposter. Love yourself for that at least.
Sometimes when I wake in the morning I say “today is going to be about practicing loving kindness, and it begins with myself!”. There are several ways I do that:
- It starts with deciding what to wear, what clothes makes me feel good about myself and most importantly – what clothes are comfortable.
- I then drink a glass of warm water and a green tea and delay my breakfast till I really feel ready to eat; this may be as late at 10.30, ideally after my Nia fitness class.
- Back home I make a delicious smoothie or juice packed with nutrients and superfoods, to give my body an easy-to-digest immune boosting meal.
- As I move through my day I listen to my body, making choices about how I am walking, sitting, getting in and out of the car. I bring awareness to how my body feels, somatic awareness. I ask myself “am I walking too fast, pushing myself, rushing, being unkind?” Then I slow down and adapt what I am doing so that it feels good. Nia has taught me to let the sensation of pleasure be my guide, even with activities as mundane as loading the dishwasher!
Michele Kaye, author of ‘Eat Dance Shine’
Health and Wellness Coach
Self Love with the Angels
Self love is so important. The Oxford Dictionary definition is the feeling that your own happiness and wishes are important. We all have a guardian angel, and they absolutely love you to look after you, the more you look after your own happiness, health and wellbeing, the easier it is to be kind and loving to others too. It has that positive ricochet effect of a pebble creating ripples on a beautiful calm lake.
The angels tip on how to embrace self love is to make it a daily thing, incorporate it into your daily lifestyle, not something you look forward to once a week or year. Make every day count and create a mini morning routine for you before breakfast.
1: ask your guardian angel to be with you for guidance and positivity, smile
2: Meditate for a minute or two, lie down or sit and close your eyes. Relax and take 10 breaths in and out. Breathe in through your nose, as you exhale through your mouth relax.
3: Pick a positive affirmation card and angel card daily, read what it says and then think or write down what it means to you.
To go more in depth on your self-love journey, you can get tips galore in my new book I Talk to Angels, out on the 29th February.
Author of I Talk to Angels
Happy Healthy Sober – Ditch the booze and take control of your life, is available now!
If you haven’t heard me wax lyrical about it, it’s my story, a whole host of tips to make ditching the booze easier for you, so great if you’re early days (or if you want to make other behaviour changes) but also a huge lifestyle section, where we cover so many health and wellbeing topics from nutrition through fitness, relationships, creativity, purpose, meditation, therapeutic techniques et al. There are contributions from some amazing experts too.
Of course selfcare and selflove is at the heart of sobriety, most people when they are drinking too much, don’t have a strong self esteem, they often find it difficult to sit with their feelings, we have had years of just ‘numbing out’ with alcohol rather than , as one of my contributors Karla McKlaren says …embracing all of our emotions.
There is lots in this book about self love, its the key, and of course I’d say if you haven’t already, Question your relationship with alcohol!
The opposite of addiction is connection
You can check out The Sober Club for support, accountability and connection
Here’s the link to buy on Amazon – you can order a copy signed personally to you, or a friend (we’ve added on a bit for P&P) Order your signed copy here.