Self-care can be really nice. It leaves you feeling relaxed, happy and in an overall better mindset. But what happens when those feelings disappear almost as soon as they come? Here’s something you may not know: all the self-care in the world won’t work if you don’t also practice self-love. And yes, there is a huge difference between the two. Learning to love yourself is a difficult journey that requires you to get deep down to the root of the problem and put in a lot of work to help fix it.
*This is a post in my series “Be A Happier Mom In 31 Days.“*
I’m going to get personal here and share a little of my own experience. Because I may have family/friends who read this blog, I want to make a disclaimer before I do: what I’m about to say is MY truth and I am allowed to speak it. If that creates a problem for you, maybe you should sit this blog post out. Okay, moving on.
My Journey To Self-Love
I was one of those people who would only feel the happiest when I was practicing self-care. Not before, not after. I was constantly beating myself up over my looks, my ability to do things, my parenting, etc. I doubted that my husband, or my kids, or anyone loved me because who could ever love me? I was this or that…or I wasn’t this or that. Never enough, never satisfied with myself, never perfect.
Until I sat down and started wondering why I was SO self-deprecating. It was a serious issue. The more I reflected, the more I realized my childhood and the relationship I had with my mom directly affected how I thought about myself. My mom wasn’t your typical hands on, lovey dovey, involved mom. I always sought her approval thinking it would make her love me and when that didn’t work I rebelled thinking I would get her love that way. I was stuck in this cycle of trying to improve myself to be loveable. So duh, how could I love myself if I was doing that?!
I choose not to blame my mom because I 100% believe that you are in charge of you and how you deal with the things that happen to you. And my story is proof of that. Figuring out what was affecting me was like the missing piece to the puzzle and now that I knew I could start trying to build myself up. There’s no one size fits all when it comes to learning to love yourself. The bad habits are tough to break and it requires so much effort but the reward is satisfying. Keep reading for some general steps that worked for me and can easily fit into your own self-love routine.
Learning To Love Yourself: 6 Steps To Get You Started
Recognize how unique you are.
There is no one else in the world exactly like you, and that is what makes you so amazing. So when you compare yourself to someone else, you’re ignoring all the things that make you so magical. Plus you might want to be more like her, while she wants to be more like you. Why not just learn to accept yourself as you are? Which brings me to the next step…
Create a love list.
Sometimes it is difficult for us to look at all the good things about ourselves because we are more focused on our problems and our insecurities. Write down all the things that make you feel good about yourself and keep it tucked away. Seeing the physical list and it’s growth will remind you of your magic and make it learning to love yourself that much easier.
Drown out that negative inner voice.
Every time that little voice inside your head tells you you’re not enough, counter it with “Actually, I am enough. I am worthy. I can do this.” You may not believe it at first but eventually that pesky inner voice will be so quiet, you won’t be able to hear it anymore.
Learn the art of letting go
Earlier I said that I choose not to blame my mom for how she treated me growing up. It was one of the hardest decisions to make but once I accepted that I couldn’t change the past, I was able to be in a better space mentally and emotionally. Holding on to the past weighs us down and blocks us from loving ourselves fully. When all that weight is lifted off of you, you have more room to really shine and be who you want to be.
Do something you’re good at.
Take some time to make your soul happy by doing something you’re good at. When you’re doing something you’re good at, it gives you a major confidence boost. Tell yourself how proud you are and how great what you did was. Praising yourself is great practice for squashing that inner voice we talked about earlier.
Build your tribe.
Energy transfers, both negative and positive. Ironically, self-love isn’t just about the love you give yourself. It’s also about the love you surround yourself with. Having positive people around you who genuinely love and care about you will help you be positive too. It also makes it safe to reach out and get support when you’re being hard on yourself.
Self-care and self-love go hand in hand. Taking a hot bath, Netflix bingeing, or getting your nails done won’t make you feel better for long if you’re missing love. Learning to love yourself is about the best thing you can do for your soul- everything else will fall into place after that. And with that said, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes:
“It was when I stopped searching for home within others and lifted the foundations of home within myself I found there were no roots more intimate than those between a mind and body that have decided to be whole.”―