Terms like “self-love” and “self-care” are hot topics these days. Companies have been using a lot of self love language to sell products, and good “self-care” can mean anything from facemasks and massages to shopping sprees and pizza parties. There’s nothing wrong with any of these things (actually I love all of these activities), but loving yourself means so much more than splurging on a pedicure.
So how can we authentically and meaningfully practice self-love? Well, it starts from changing the way we view ourselves.
Take Care of Your Body
Yep, that’s right, self care! But like I said, this means more than just a spa day (though if a spa day is what you need, do it girl!). Truly taking care of yourself is listening to your body and paying attention to what it needs.
Listening to your body means paying attention to how the things you consume affect your skin or your stomach. It means noticing how your back feels after a long day of sitting at your desk. It means noticing how your eyes are feeling after a Netflix binge session. And it means making adjustments to your habits based on these discoveries.
So yes, taking care of yourself is about having a healthy lifestyle, but it’s also about having balance. Part of loving yourself and listening to your body is not depriving it of what it wants and needs. Some days this could be a salad and going for a run. Other days this could be french fries and watching a movie.
Bodily self care also has to mean paying attention when something could be seriously wrong. I know too many people who put off going to the doctor for months because they were “too busy.” By the time they got looked at, the cancer (or whatever they had) had progressed from bad to worse. You have to prioritize your own wellbeing–not tomorrow, but today.
The key is that the decisions you are making about how you treat your body come from a place of love and appreciation for everything your body does for you.
There are so many things to be thankful for in your life but you should be the most thankful for yourself! Your body, mind, and heart do so much for you every day.
Thank your body for working so hard for you. It takes care of you when you’re sick. Your feet get you where you need to go. Your senses take in the world around you. Your body is strong and capable and does so much for you. Your body is good, so be thankful for it!
Thank your mind for how much it grows and changes. It takes in all that information and processes it. It protects from pain and trauma. It solves math problems and reads books. You have a brilliant mind. One that gives you the dreams you have and the intelligence and creativity to make those dreams a reality.
Your heart represents your emotions. Thank your heart for everything it feels. It is so resilient. Maybe your heart has been broken more times than you can count, but it also continues to hope. It pieces itself back together and inspires you to keep going. Your heart is beautiful and strong.
Treat Yourself the Way You Would Treat a Friend
Think about someone in your life who you love unconditionally. Maybe it’s your sister or best friend. What if your best friend came to you and said, “I am so ugly. I’m stupid and I’m not good at anything. I look terrible all the time. I’m the worst.” What would you say to her?
You’d would tell her the opposite! You would turn to your friend and say, “No! You’re beautiful! You’re smart and amazing and good at so many things! You are a brilliant, radiant queen and the world is lucky to have you!” You know how incredible and good your best friend is, and you would want her to see those same things.
Now do that for yourself. How many times have you looked in the mirror and had a rush of toxic negative thoughts? But that voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough is a liar. Treat yourself the way you would treat your best friend. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your sister. And when negative thoughts come up, remind yourself that you are a brilliant, radiant queen and the world is lucky to have you.
Accept Who You Are Right Now
You might feel like self love is a great idea and you’ll get there one day. But one day can start right now. You don’t have to be in your dream job to love yourself. You don’t have to get to your goal weight or finish your degree to be worthy of love. Self-love starts right now. Maybe you haven’t been at your best lately but that is OKAY!
You’re still here. You’re still taking it one step at a time and that is amazing. So be proud of yourself. Accept yourself with all your flaws. Guess what? You don’t have to have accomplished anything to be worthy of love. You don’t have to have a romantic partner to be worthy of love. You don’t have to have a certain number of social media followers to be worthy of love. You don’t have to look or act a certain way to be worthy of love. You don’t have to do anything to deserve love!
You are worthy of love exactly as you are RIGHT NOW.
Self-love is a journey of acceptance. So start today by practicing these habits of self-love. It will transform you from the inside out. You are so worthy of love. I believe that and I hope you believe that too.
What do you love about yourself?
What do you love about yourself? Share your message of self-love with us!
Elizabeth Endara is a writer, advocate, doula, educator and cat mom based in NYC. She loves Great British Bake-Off, Eastern Europe, snug coffee shops and writing about her feelings. She is the co-founder of a feminist blog called Release the Women, and she is excited to be working with LiveYourDream.org helping to curate and tell stories that demonstrate the power of women!