Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tuesday Tips: What Self-Love Is, And How You Do It

Self-love.

Google defines self-love as, "regard for one's own well-being and happiness." Dictionary.com says self-love is, "the instinct by which one's actions are directed to the promotion of one's own welfare or well-being." Merriam-Webster simply says (in the first definition), "love of self."

There are, of course, alternative definitions including less positive terms such as "conceit," generally in application when a person's self-love has reached epic proportions. But I mean really, what is self-love and what does it really look like, especially when in healthy proportion?

My favorite definition of self-love is the one offered by yourdictionary.com, which says, "Self-love is the belief you hold that you are a valuable and worthy person."

Guys, take a minute and just let that sink in, okay? Breathe it in and internalize it.

"Self-love is the belief you hold that you are a valuable and worthy person." - yourdictionary.com

The belief you hold, that you are a valuable and worthy person.

Do you hold that belief? Do you believe truly, in every little crevice and corner of your being, that you count and you matter and your life means something? That you are valuable? That you deserve to be honored and loved and respected? That you are worthy?

If not, then I challenge you to work on that in 2017. Encourage yourself. Affirm your own worth. Set and defend your boundaries.

"Right. That's easier said than done."

You're right, it is. But let's just go one tip at a time, shall we? Now that we know what self-love is, let's figure out how to implement it in your life, starting with small steps you can begin to take right now.

Just as self-love is a belief in your own worth, this belief is strongest when you exercise confident behaviors - yes, even when you don't actually feel confident.

Remember, there's a reason "fake it 'til you make it" has been such a popular saying for so long! So fake it. Figure out what makes you feel confident instantly, and use that. For some, it's slicking on some bold lipstick and feeling like they look more put together. For others, it's getting dressed all the way down to their shoes because that makes them feel like they have more productivity potential. Sometimes it's as simple as taking a selfie and making sure you can find something you like in it - even when that means trying again and again until you get one. So take those selfies, or simply begin by practicing loving what you see in your reflection. Stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself something nice about you - something you believe to be true, but that you wish someone would tell you. Which leads me to ...

Stop taking your worth from the feedback of others. They can only ever give you the value on your price tag - a price tag that YOU wrote. So stop selling yourself short.

Many of us are unhappy with our lives - and with ourselves - largely because we've gotten into the habit of underselling what we have to offer. We can't take compliments, we're uncomfortable when someone shows us kindness or offers us help, and sometimes we even turn down opportunities because we're convinced we don't deserve them or that someone else could do it better.

Stop doing that, right now. The next time someone tells you that you look great in that color or that shirt or those shoes, don't get awkward and babble something like, "Oh, well yeah, I got them on sale and they're alright, so I thought they'd go okay with this and ..."

Don't do that anymore. Instead, just smile and say thank you, and accept that in that moment, you've just been given the grown-up version of the "Well Done!" stickers my seven year old loves so much. Same thing with your hair. If someone says it looks nice, don't tell them what a relief it is to have a good hair day since it looked awful yesterday. Just accept that today, you're bangin' - and now that you know what's working, do it again tomorrow!

Which brings me to the other side of the spectrum, which is much more often the problem.

You don't have to accept being disrespected or disregarded. Your feelings matter. You matter. So fill your life with people who can see that.

A lack of self-love leads directly to a lack of self-worth. You aren't taking care of yourself because you don't think you're worth the time or effort. Then you don't get positive feedback from others because they figure (usually on a sub-conscious level) if you can't be bothered to take care of yourself, why should they? The truth is, they're seeking their own happiness, just as you should be - and no one person is ever, or should ever feel, responsible for the happiness or self-esteem of another. Self-confidence comes in its most authentic form from genuine self-love and compassion. It comes from within.

That being said, we as humans were created to be social creatures, to interact with and feed on the collective energy of the whole. We crave that positive interaction because we were created to need it - and there's nothing at all wrong with seeking it out or craving it when it doesn't exist in your world.

But.

If you're looking around and seeing people who don't value you, people who don't respect you, people who are willing to take from you but not so willing to give back to you, people who drink from your life-force but don't refill the tank ... then it's time you take an honest look at why. I'll bet you've been excusing it, you've been telling yourself to let it go, you've been telling yourself not to rock the boat. You've been telling yourself that other people have it worse, that it's too much trouble to make changes now.

Maybe you haven't been telling yourself any of that though, because you've been hiding from the truth of it for a while now, but this is all ringing true to you, and now you can't unsee it. And what's worse, now that you can't unsee it, your sense of preservation will no longer allow you to quietly accept it.

And what's worse than that? Now that you can no longer quietly accept the status quo that everyone in your world has gotten so used to ... you're terrified. What will happen now? Will there be change? Will it be easy? Will there be loss? And regardless of how all it goes during the process ... what happens when it's done? And what will your world look like once it's righted itself again?

"Fear only becomes powerful when you give it your power." - Robin Sharma


Those of you who have been here with me for any length of time will know by now that this is far from a new topic for me - it's such a passionate subject for me specifically that it's even managed to sneak into every single one of my fiction novels. And because of the changes in myself, my thought processes, and my price tag, I did experience change and rebellion from those around me. I experienced loss.

But I'm richer for it because I've learned something so powerful in the meantime. I learned that in order to command respect from others, I had to first be giving it to myself. In order to expect others to be the kind of friend I need, I had to show myself what that feels like by being kind and friendly to myself. Because you just can't expect love to be flowing into your world if you've got your own faucet turned off.

*analogy alert*

Imagine you've gone into a certain store expecting to get five pairs of panties for $20, but you go in to find that the price has changed to 3 pairs for $25. You've been buying them at 5 for $20 for years now maybe, so you're understandably upset by the sudden price change. But you don't get to choose what's on the price tag, the store does. So it all boils down to this - do you respect that brand enough to pay more money for less product? Is the product so worth it that you'll still keep coming back?

Sure, some people wouldn't think so.

But others will, because they believe in the value of the product they care about. And if life is a store and you're in charge of selling yourself, then those are the customers you want to attract anyway.

So raise your prices, stop giving discounts, and love yourself the way you wish other people would. Lead them by example. Because you're worth it.


39 comments:

  1. Yes, I am working on this! That's a goal of mine for 2017.

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    1. It definitely takes a lot of practice - but slowly and surely, it can be done.

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  2. It's definitely easier said than done, but I think with enough practice, it becomes internalized. Thanks for sharing this uplifting post <3

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  3. I really like this post. It is so important that we love ourselves, or we cannot expect that of others. Self-love is extremely difficult as a mom sometimes because you are more focused on loving your children day-in and day-out. Great post!

    Kaitlyn
    www.mypostpartumlife.com

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    1. Agreed! I know that as a mom, my kids always come first - but sometimes that means my self-care falls too far to the wayside. Eventually it has an impact on how I view myself as a mother too, because I'm cranky and annoyed more often ... Because I've neglected myself. I find that once I remind myself to balance it out, we're all much better off.

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  4. It is certainly a good topic that some people don't put into practice. You've got to think of yourself sometimes.

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    1. The real trick is changing the mindset that looking out for "number one" is a selfish or otherwise "bad" thing. I'm definitely not willing to say that I am my own first priority, but now that I AM a priority for me, I feel much more balanced in other areas of my life too.

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  5. This is probably one of the hardest tasks I've ever come across. it's easy loving others, but loving yourself to the same extent? Not so easy.

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    1. I agree, and it's even harder now because we live in a world where we're taught that self-CARE is self-ISH, especially mothers. It's hard to get past that and allow yourself to take time for yourself. But it's so important.

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  6. I am also a firm believer in fake it till you make it! I think it is the best way to get started.

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    1. This has worked for me before - you just keep telling yourself that you love you and that you're confident/beautiful/smart/whatever, and eventually, you believe it enough to become it.

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  7. This is a lovely reminder for us all that we need to take care of ourselves. I like that you empower and inspire people to think about their value and to make sure that they know their worth.

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    1. Thanks! It took me a long time to get to the place where I can see my own value (sometimes because of, and sometimes in spite of external feedback), so if I can help someone else to see theirs, I'm all for that.

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  8. We all need self love, not just to feel great but in order for us to know our worth. I think it's pretty nice that you've shared these quotes and tips!

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    1. Thanks! I think it's important for people - and especially women - to take the extra step to empower each other.

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  9. Self love is very important in life in order to be happy. Love what you wrote about fear and allowing to be disrespected or disregarded.

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    1. Thank you. For a long time, that was a way of life for me, just going along not rocking the boat, keeping the peace at all costs. It took me way too long to realize that the reason everyone around me seemed to be fine with the status quo was because it came at MY expense. Realizing my own part in that was equally hard, but now I'm changing it. I'm standing up for myself, I'm being kinder to me - and I'm much happier for it.

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  10. Self love is much needed. There is no way that you can allow someone else to love you without the first love of yourself.

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    1. Agreed - and too many people don't know how to love themselves. It sets us all up for failure in our relationships.

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  11. This is a really important topic, especially around this time of year. A lot of people sell themselves WAY too short.

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  12. This is something I really struggle with, the whole self love concept. But I am currently working on it!

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    1. You'll get there - just keep practicing it actively.

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  13. Yes to all of this! When you love yourself and think good about yourself, you will not except any kind of treatment from others.

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    1. It's funny how that happens too. Sometimes it isn't even a conscious choice - it just happens as a process.

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  14. I love this topic! Love makes the world go round and when we truly learn how to genuinely love ourselves we are able to overflow our love into others. It's something we teach our team on a daily basis. Great blog post about this amazing and very important topic!!!

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  15. OH boy now I'm singing the song 'worth it.' It gets stuck in my head. Very valid points.

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  16. I think it's so important to recognise your worth when implementing self love as part of your personal growth. And like any have said, with practise it can be done. Thanks the insight and sharing.

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    1. No problem - I'm glad you liked the post. And I agree, a good sense of self-worth is everything!

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  17. These are some pretty amazing tips. I really need to learn to love myself more.

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    1. Most people do, especially women. We're getting feedback all the time from all around us, and the majority of it isn't good. We're too fat, too thin, too short, too tall. Not fun enough, not serious enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough. It's no wonder so many of us begin to internalize that feedback - we aren't getting enough of the positive kind.

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  18. I see that I've learned a couple of life lessons today. Loving that quote from Robin! I love myself but yeah, sometimes I give too much.

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    1. Be careful of that. It's important to give of yourself to other people - but not so much that you end up with nothing left.

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  19. I agree that the belief that we hold that we are a valuable and worthy person will always have a positive impact in our path anytime. Such a great reminder to trust our own abilities and take care of our-self under any circumstances!

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  20. I certainly love my self hahahah Why not ?

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