In a Self-Love State of Mind.
How many blogs have you read about self-care? If you're anything like me, you lost count after a thousand. I love self-care. I believe in self-care rituals. I trust these acts of self-care to nourish our mind and souls as much as they do our bodies. The one problem I have with the act of self-care is just that: it’s an act. Self-care requires action, time, and sometimes money. Obviously, we’re worth all of it, but this year - in my effort to simplify - I encourage you to head into Valentine’s Day not just thinking about self-care, but self-love.
What's the difference?
While self-care requires us to take action to make it happen, self-love is a mindset.
Self-love is described as a “state of appreciation for oneself” and “accepting yourself fully and thinking of yourself with kindness and respect.” Here’s the thing: just because self-love doesn’t require action, it doesn’t mean it’s not work. To me, it actually sounds harder. Thinking of myself with kindness, and appreciating my body are things I’ve been working on since my teen years. But this is my year of investing in beauty; and what can be more beautiful than true self-love?
The internet has long lists of ways to show yourself self-love. In the spirt of simplifying, here are a few of my favorites I invite you to practice with me this year:
Give yourself grace.
No problem, right?
Although I know self-love doesn’t come easy, it’s work that’s worth investing in. Especially during this time of year when every store aisle and TV commercial blasts you with ways to show love to others. Let’s set our hearts on adding ourselves to that Valentine’s list.
First, slow down. A gentle reminder to breathe deep at the start of each day; give yourself time before you jump into the grind. Work on making time to watch the sunrise, go for walks, and do things for yourself rather than tackling your inbox before you’ve even finished your coffee. The emails will always be there, but there are only so many mornings you get to really start with peace. Let’s change that.
Second, set boundaries. This is an especially difficult one for me, as an artisan and small business owner. My life and my work are constantly bleeding into each other (much to my husband’s chagrin). That’s why this year I’ve taken up crocheting instead of filling my ‘down time’ with research, ads, and the other work stuff that “seems easy” but actually drains my spirit. Setting boundaries can also mean saying no to girl’s night so you can catch up on rest, or sending that call to voicemail so you can call back when you’re in a better headspace for conversation. You don’t have to be everything to everyone at all times. Remember that.
You don't have to be everything to everyone at all times.
Give yourself grace. Oomph. That’s been on my list for years now. I’ve recognized this goal takes constant work; but there is also some grace in that. I’m not going to change who I am overnight, and that’s okay. Being mindful of my efforts and forgiving myself brings me one step closer to grace and also, self-love.
Showing gratitude is one of those trick-actions that always sounds like work, but ends up filling you with more joy and love than it takes. It also helps in changing your mindset; when you give gratitude, you’re not pouring from an empty cup, rather, you’re filling your own bucket. Someone explained it to me once as this: “Where attention goes, energy flows, and when you practice gratitude, you tend to see all that you have instead of what you lack.” Practicing gratitude will show you all you have, and seeing your abundance will definitely give you those warm and fuzzy self-love feelings.
Lastly, live intentionally. I think that by investing in the endeavors I’ve laid out above, I will be more present, more mindful, more attentive, and more thankful for who I am and what I offer this world. I will intentionally choose what to do with my time, where my energy flows, how I react to myself. And – hopefully – in turn, I’ll make loving myself that much easier.