Do You Love Yourself?
In my work, one of the things that has stood out to me the most is the importance of self-love. In the past few years the self-love movement has gained a lot of traction. However despite this surge, I haven’t seen a huge change in the prevalence and understanding of self-love. I have however seen a lot of skewed perceptions and double standards within the topic.
I’ll preface by first saying that in my opinion, one of the most basic and powerful ways to express self-love is by caring for and nurturing your “vessel”. Your body is the only one you will have in this life. A physically healthy body makes way for a healthy mind, and the two together help to formulate the best possible version of you. Additionally, self-love is a MASSIVE and complex topic, so this post serves as an overview. I plan on continuing to delve much deeper, but in the meantime if you have any questions, concerns, and/or are interested in coaching, please don’t hesitate to reach out. One of the most common misconceptions, especially with high-achieving individuals, is that “self-love” is merely an excuse for laziness, excuses, excessive self-coddling, cockiness or ill-placed self assurance, selfishness, low standards, and/or a barrier in the path to growth and success. Self-love is NOT by any means any of these things. Yes, it can definitely be used as a justification for behaviors or even traits, but these things do not define self-love. They are the furthest from the truth. Every individual deserves to love themselves. You can still be high-achieving, you can be growth-minded, you can have goals, you can dislike choices you’ve made, you can have weaknesses, you can be imperfect. Self-love isn’t something that you must deserve or win. In this complex world that we live in, loving ourselves is the very least that we should be able to have. Self-love is easy to spot. Individuals who truly love themselves are often confident, successful, passionate, honest and transparent, have fantastic balance in their lives, are happy, and talk about themselves so much differently than individuals who don’t love themselves. I have found that the people I look up to most, truly love themselves. When I struggle with this concept of self-love, I think about others that I love. I think about what I want for them, how I want them to feel, what I want them to achieve, how I want them to live their lives, how much I want them in my life. I then think about how I talk to those people. I then think about the things I say to myself. Oftentimes, they way I internally talk to myself is SO different than the way i talk to those I love. It’s sometimes ugly, un-reasonable, harsh, without empathy (which is funny, because I am an extremely empathetic person). WHY do I talk to myself that way? Why do so many of us? I am a perfectionist, high-achieving, growth-minded, and have chronic anxiety combined with some OCD tendencies. So self-love was a challenging concept for me to grasp within MYSELF. However, it’s a core foundation of my work with OTHERS. Funny how that works right? In health and wellness I know that self love is critical. However like many things, there is always a double standard when it comes to“me”. How does this relate to health and wellness? So often, individuals go to weight loss and aesthetics as a way to “deserve” love. But at the end of the day, losing weight, changing your body composition, being smaller or larger, is NOT going to cause you to love yourself. You will get to that point, realize nothing significant has changed, and continue to be dissatisfied and not love yourself. This is SO common. When I recognize it within those I care about and within clients, it breaks my heart. Self-love is actually an extremely powerful tool in health. Self love is an amazing motivator: with fitness, weight loss, muscle gain, work, friends, family, finding balance… I have found, and seen amazing success, with helping clients learn to love themselves, and then go on to achieve goals that they have never been able to achieve before, and find happiness and passion that never existed in their lives before. Of course this process is very individualized and takes time. It’s kind of like falling in love with a life partner. In finding self-love there are often many emotional layers that must be drawn back and understood. However when it is done, and it ALWAYS can be done, it will be amazing. In this often difficult process, I always encourage asking for help. Talk to loved ones, friends, families, trusted trainers and coaches, therapists, psychiatrists, even your general practitioner. If there are (and 99% of the time there are) underlying emotional reasons for the absence of self-love, seek professional help. Of course friends and family can be amazing support systems, but an un-biased professional is powerful. And anyways, I believe that therapy is an amazing thing and everyone should go: yay for mental health!! To understand the relationship that self-love and a healthy lifestyle can have, I’ll use myself as an example. Writing these kinds of statements can be helpful in practicing self-love. If you aren’t sure where to start with this monstrous topic, I suggest starting by making a list like this: -I love myself, therefore I do my best to feed my body nourishing foods to keep it healthy and working it’s best. -I love myself, therefore I workout not only for aesthetic purposes, but to feel my best and improve my short- and long-term health. -I love myself, therefore I try to sleep at least 6 hours each night. -I love myself, therefore I make sure I have one off day each week. -I love myself, therefore I am transparent and honest with myself. -I love myself, therefore I always try to grow as an individual and professional whenever possible. -I love myself, therefore I invest in and care for my relationships. -I love myself, therefore I pursue hobbies and activities purely for joy. -I love myself, therefore I recognize and am proud of my strengths, but also recognize my weaknesses. -I love myself, therefore I show myself empathy. -I love myself, therefore I provide myself with founded constructive criticism. These are just a fraction of ways you can show and practice self love. If you don’t know where to start, first think about those you care about and what you think they deserve, how you want them to feel, and what kind of passion and purpose they will find in their life. As I said before, this is a monstrous topic. Not that it is bad, but huge, complex, and highly individualized. If you are interested in talking more about self-love and/or your wellness journey, please reach out via Instagram, email, or the “about me” page on this site.